La Rochelle to test their mettle in Toulon
La Rochelle face a true test of their Top 14 ambitions when they travel to big-spending Toulon today (kick-off: 16:45), the sixth round of matches in France’s elite division.
The western Atlantic team, driven by outstanding All Black No8 and Top 14 player of the season Victor Vito, finished atop the regular season standings last year, only to be knocked out in the top six play-offs.
While that came as surprise to many, all seems to again be running its course this season, with La Rochelle sitting in second a point off leaders Montpellier and fresh off a 57-12 mauling of Oyonnax. “What interests us is what’s coming up and to prepare for who awaits us,” La Rochelle coach Patrice Collazo said of Toulon after the Oyonnax match. Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal’s latest star recruit, however, will not play against La Rochelle. Semi Radradra (l) is the latest in a long line of signings for Toulon, the giant Fijian centre/winger having joined on a one-year contract from the Parramatta Eels in Australia’s NRL. Voted best winger in the NRL in both 2014 and 2015 seasons, Radradra’s favoured XVs position is centre, Boudjellal admitting his signing was a “bet that was a little crazy but measured”.