Double reigning European champion, Stade Rochelais is aiming for the Top 14 and a historic double this season.
Double reigning European champion since last Saturday and its stunning final against Leinster (26-27), Stade Rochelais remains an enigma in European rugby. The club chaired by Vincent Merling has never yet triumphed on the French scene. Accustomed to the final stages of the Top 14 for several seasons, the Yellow and Black have been familiar with the stars but have never won the Grail. They caressed it with their fingertips in 2021. But Stade Toulousain, author of a Champions Cup – Top 14 double that year, destroyed maritime dreams (18-8). In the end every time.
Cut for the title with an extremely strong team and master of its subject under the orders of Patrice Collazo, the Rochelais had also experienced immense disillusionment in 2017. The drop of a “Minot” from Toulon at the time, Anthony Belleau, who has become an international since this famous semi-final won in added time, had crucified the big favorite (15-18). A sentence of the greatest cruelty, experienced again two years later. In the semi-finals again, La Rochelle fell in 2019 against Stade Toulousain (20-6).
💁 It’s time for the last regular season pre-game. #SRSFP | #Top14 | #FievreSR
— Stade Rochelais (@staderochelais) May 24, 2023
Last season, already winners of the big European Cup, Ronan O’Gara’s men had nevertheless fallen in the play-offs against, once again, Stade Toulousain (33-28). A misadventure which the European champions would gladly do without this season, thirsty for success. “What happened today (Saturday, editor’s note) is very good. But when you’ve tasted it, you always want more. We will do everything to achieve the double “Reacted Pierre Boudehent at the end of the Dublin final with our colleagues from Rugby Rama.
In rehearsal against Stade Français
Current runner-up to Stade Toulousain, Stade Rochelais is already guaranteed to participate in the semi-finals without going through the play-offs thanks to its eight-point lead over Stade Français, 3rd. Ironically, residents of the Marcel-Deflandre stadium will receive the capital club this Sunday on the occasion of the last day of the regular phase of the Top 14 (kick-off at 9:05 p.m.). A dress rehearsal before a possible reunion in the semi-finals or final?