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Top 14: How Stade Rochelais pillar George-Henri Colombe took care of his physique

The position concerns the staff of the XV of France.

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Top 14: How Stade Rochelais pillar George-Henri Colombe took care of his physique

The position concerns the staff of the XV of France. Who asked Uini Atonio to postpone his international retirement. Behind the right pillar of Stade Rochelais, there is not a plethora of candidates. Mohamed Haouas has put himself offside with his legal troubles, the Lyonnais Damba Bamba is struggling to regain his level, the Toulouse Dorian Aldegheri is struggling to fully convince. So, while waiting for the Bayonnais Tevita Tatafu, who impresses in each of his Top 14 outings, to be selectable (of Tongan origin, he joined Rowing in November 2019, at the age of 17, and the will be for the November 2024 tour), Galthié and his deputies recalled Rochelais Georges-Henri Colombe.

If, at 25, he has no selection, the massive pillar (1.93 m, 142 kg) has already participated in some training sessions for the Blues in 2020 and 2021. Without convincing William Servat to throw him into the deep end. Not mobile enough. A criticism also made by the staff of Stade Rochelais, a club that the ex-Racingman joined during the summer of 2022. A criticism which would be in the process of being erased. “I have been working on the physique for a month, with additional sessions, and I feel that it is paying off. The coaches expected more from me and I immediately accepted to perform better, for myself and for the team. I feel much better. I’m doing everything I can to get back to my best level.”

Including starting to run rather than walk between two phases of play on the field? “It’s a bad habit that I have, rather complicated to change. But I’m working on it…” assures Georges-Henri Colombe. Who admits to not having always given his best since his arrival in the Maritimes, a year and a half ago. “I have up and down performances. Some very good and some much less good. But I want to be at my best and play every match. That’s why I do these little physical preparation purges.”

The result of his efforts was not long in coming. On Thursday, he was called up to prepare for the trip to Wales on March 10 in Cardiff. And he enjoys it. “It’s a goal for any player. Personally this is a very good signal. It could be a trigger. But I prefer to concentrate above all on Stade Rochelais and this weekend's match rather than already thinking about the France team. Be efficient, get the job done and be able to leave with peace of mind. To potentially go higher, you first have to contribute to the team every week.”

A team in tough times after two defeats in the league, in Lyon and, last weekend, in Perpignan. “Two defeats with zero points is hard to take for everyone. We feel a little more pressure. We got together and said things to each other after the defeat in Perpignan. We are a very close-knit group. It's hard to digest but we all got back to work this week to respond against Clermont. We know that all the teams come here to try to achieve a big success. We are going through a complicated period. But we are keen to put out a big performance, for our audience and for us. We don't really have any other choice, in front of our public, than a good result. Just to join Marcoussis with a smile on Monday morning.

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