Forward battle decisive against La Rochelle


The Stormers will play host to La Rochelle this weekend in a Champions Cup match and the Capetians are all too aware that they are competing against formidable opponents.

The French club are the rugby champions of Europe after they settled with Leinster in the final of the tournament in Dublin last season.

However, they were also persuaded to get back on the winning track: The very Leinster (with ex-Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber now also in its ranks) hung up the signs this past weekend thanks to a victory of 16 – 9.

But with stars like Gregory Alldritt, Jonathan Danty and Will Skelton in its ranks, La Rochelle is definitely not a team you take on without gloves.

Then Raymond Rhule and Dillyn Leyds’ local experience will also provide enough background knowledge about South African conditions.

“La Rochelle’s backs can dish out exciting play, but I think the biggest danger is undoubtedly their forwards. Once they have a bit of momentum on their side, it could be a long day on the playing field,” said Deon Fourie.

The 37-year-old World Cup winner singled out players like Alldritt and Danty, while Levani Botia can also make things happen at the breakdown points.

However, Fourie is excited to run out on the Cape Town Stadium’s brand new playing surface.

“Last year we all slipped around a bit, but the new surface suits our way of playing. Hopefully we can provide a rugby spectacle against a very strong French team.”

The match starts at 15:00 on Saturday and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.

  • Champions Cup standings:

Group 1:

  1. Bordeaux-B├ęgles: 5 points
  2. Bristol Bears: 5 points
  3. Bulls: 4 points
  4. Lyon: 2 points
  5. Saracens: no points
  6. Connact: no points

Group 2:

  1. Toulouse: 5 points
  2. Bath: 5 points
  3. Harlequins: 5 points
  4. Racing 92: 2 points
  5. Ulster: no points
  6. Cardiff: no points

Group 3:

  1. Northampton Saints: 4 points
  2. Exeter Chiefs: 4 points
  3. Bayonne: 2 points
  4. Munster: 2 points
  5. Toulon: 1 point
  6. Glasgow Warriors: no points

Group 4:

  1. Leicester Tigers: 5 points
  2. Sale Sharks: 4 points
  3. Leinster: 4 points
  4. La Rochelle: 1 point
  5. Stormers: no points
  6. Stade Francais: no points