Racing 92 on alert for “turnovers” before the play-off against UBB on Sunday in Bordeaux

Racing 92 on alert for “turnovers” before the play-off against UBB on Sunday in Bordeaux

Obviously, that’s relieving. For his first season in France, Stuart Lancaster came close to an embarrassing spin. Within three minutes, without Max Baudonne’s try in La Rochelle (77th), transformed by the impeccable Tristan Tedder, his Racing was the first to come out sheepishly before the final phase since the comeback in 2009. The union minimum in pocket (nothing more), the Racingmen tackle a complex barrage on Sunday evening in Chaban, against UBB. Last season, they managed to improve their record by winning an away play-off against Stade Français at Jean-Bouin; can they do it again?

“It’s been a very good week,” says their manager Stuart Lancaster. Our leaders have raised the bar. I have confidence in our players, I am convinced that they will represent Racing well. Against La Rochelle last weekend, it was different. We knew we would have to deal with potentially crazy scenarios and it happened. In Bordeaux, there will no longer be a question of taking a defensive bonus and controlling what happens elsewhere. It will be either you win or you go out. We know how strong this UBB team is, even more so in its stadium where it is really difficult to play. Just look at what happened this season for Saracens when they went to Bordeaux. They took forty points twice and I know what Saracens are capable of. »

“This season, we sometimes made bad decisions under pressure but in La Rochelle, I found that we were good in this area”

Stuart Lancaster, manager du Racing 92

“We know that the UBB has some great X factors, we know that they are physically strong,” explains Lancaster. I know their offensive philosophy, I know Yannick Bru and Noel McNamara (UBB attack coach) well. We also know that they have their sights set on a semi-final in their city. This season, we sometimes made bad decisions under pressure but in La Rochelle, I found that we were good in this area. We executed the plan well. I liked how Clovis Le Bail and Antoine Gibert managed the match, with precise footwork. This is important against powerful teams, very strong on the ground. Max Spring made a great entry to cover the 9 position. We showed a good mentality in winning, in the ground game, in defense. But we conceded three tries at Deflandre. We will have to be even better on Sunday evening. »

The same team as in La Rochelle?

The Racing team should be the same as in La Rochelle, with a hinge Le Bail-Gibert, a pair of centers Chavancy-Fickou, Tedder at the back and the Fijians Habosi and Tuisova on the wings. Up front, the pack should not move either, around the second line Woki-Rowlands, very effective at Deflandre, and a third line Diallo-Joseph-Kolisi who works more and more but who can do much better . Suspended three weeks after his red card against Bayonne, Fabien Sanconnie is available again.

“The pressure will be less negative than in La Rochelle but it will not be less strong,” says Welshman Will Rowlands, perfectly French-speaking. Bordeaux have a superb attacking line but ours is very strong too. Our defense has improved a lot in recent weeks. Our focus on rucks has paid off lately. »

Called upon to take on more responsibilities since Nolann Le Garrec’s left shoulder injury (he had surgery this week), Clovis Le Bail noted the progress of this pack: “Our forwards are gaining strength. In rucks, in closed scrums, in collisions… I have no doubt that they will respond. We know what we absolutely must not do against the Bordelais: concede turnovers and make balls exploitable, let them run and catch fire. With a crumb, they can do great things. »

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