Home » Sport » “When you have a solid pack, it’s easier to play behind”, greets opener Iahia West

“When you have a solid pack, it’s easier to play behind”, greets opener Iahia West

The New Zealand opening half of Stade Rochelais evokes the reception of Lyon, this Monday evening in Top 14, capital for the Maritimes if they want to confirm their position at the top of the ranking.

Your Champions Cup match against Bath was postponed last weekend. How you experienced it. Isn’t it too hard to get back into training before diving into a new game?
Iahia West: Yes, it was difficult for us because we learned about it an hour or two before leaving for Liverpool. Instead of leaving for England, we had a good training and a good meal together (players and staff). Everyone is in good shape and ready for the game against Lyon. But before that, we had a great time with the family over Christmas.

Does this little break for Christmas allow you to have a free spirit with your family?
It’s a time to take advantage of loved ones. It’s special for everyone, it allows us to have 2-3 days off. Then we will dive into the championship. But in a corner of our heads there will be the game plan against Lyon (laughs).

How do you manage when you play three days after Christmas Eve to avoid excess?
Do not eat and drink too much! (to smile) You have to know how to find a balance, but you are thinking of receiving the LOU. We are professional rugby players so it’s our job to prepare for the match well and to be careful even during the holidays.

When the hand play is conducive to it, then we develop this tactic. Either way, we talk to each other in the back lines

Iahia West

You came across a big Glasgow team in the European Cup. Against Lyon there will be a fight. What type of match are you expecting?
It’s gonna be different. They (Glasgow) kept the ball a lot and we defended a lot. Lyon are a team that uses kicking play. This is one of the teams that uses it the most in Top 14. We will have to be precise under the high balls. We will need to put pressure on the 9th, the 10th, everything will be different. But we are ready.

On the balls played at the foot by his opponent, Lyon is singled out during his defensive withdrawal. Is this something that we will have to capitalize on and be able to alternate between kicking and hand playing?
We want to do that in every game if space allows. When the hand play is conducive to it, then we develop this tactic. In any case, we talk to each other (the scrum half, myself and the players in the center) in the back lines in order to make the best decisions. The first looks at the space and then we put our attack in place. Communication is very important at these times.

This match against Lyon is very important for us. We need to be very good at the performance we are going to produce

Iahia West

Is it easier to make the right decisions with strong and powerful forwards?
Yes, when you have a solid pack, with Uini (Atonio) or Peter (Bourgarit) who advance with the ball, it’s easier for us to play behind. When we are in possession of the ball, we enjoy ourselves (to smile).

You are still under pressure in the standings on 7th and 8th places (one point ahead of Castres and five over Racing 92). This block (Lyon, Castres, Toulon) which arrives is decisive for the rest of the season?
Exactly. We’re 4th or 5th, so we’re all close. This match against Lyon is very important for us. We need to be very good at the performance we are going to produce. Then we can look at the matches against Castres and Toulon. But we are focused on Lyon and it is a very important meeting for the rest of the season. For sure.

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