La Rochelle, which started the Top 14 diminished, will be able to count on the return of several internationals such as Uini Atonio or Levani Botia for the reception of Bayonne on Saturday, but will have to do without its Australian 2nd line Will Skelton, injured.
With the exception of 3rd row and captain Grégory Alldritt, authorized by his club not to resume until January, all La Rochelle globalists have returned to training and some will be on the match sheet against Rowing.
“Some had difficulty resuming training because they had to evacuate the vacation weeks,” said manager Ronan O'Gara. But they will all be ready for this weekend. This concerns in particular the Fijian Levani Botia and the pillar Uini Atonio who since the elimination in the quarter-final against South Africa has “completely cut out of rugby”.
“I don’t even know if I watched a single rugby match during my vacation. I took advantage of my family who came from New Zealand on purpose, it’s not often that I get to see them,” he explained.
Pillar Reda Wardi, encountered by journalists at the training center on Thursday, should only return to competition next week when they host Bordeaux-Bègles.
On the other hand, Australian 2nd row Will Skelton will be absent on Saturday against the Basques. “Will suffers from a new muscle injury in his hamstrings. This is not a relapse. I don't know yet if it's related to his back or his calf. I don't know any more at the moment, he must have scans to find out how long he will be unavailable. I hope I didn’t put him back on the field too soon,” O’Gara asked.
The Australian team joined the South African center Raymond Rhule, who had meniscus surgery two days ago, the 3rd line Matthias Haddad and the South African winger Dillyn Leyds (knee) in the infirmary.
After five days of Top 14, the double European champion is in 12th place with only one victory recorded, which does not worry Atonio too much. “It’s true that we lost four of our five matches, but 2 years ago, we only won one of our first five matches, so there is nothing alarming.”