After suffering during the game in La Rochelle, Perpignan scrum-half Tom Ecochard will play again against Toulon (Saturday 3pm). Before this match, he warns of the importance of this meeting.
After three defeats at the start of the season, is it urgent to pick up points against Toulon on Saturday?
clearly We’re last, we’ve only got one point, so inevitably, there’s urgency. Now we need to start moving forward and validate what we were able to do for 60 minutes in Pau (16-14 defeat) and intermittently in La Rochelle (43-8 defeat). Take out Brive (6-17 loss) because it’s a completely lost game for us. It’s hard to take the positives out of it. Against Toulon, we have to play a long game to win.
Last year you also had a difficult start to the season and needed feats to start again…
This is. Especially against Toulon (12-9), with a victory that had started our championship a bit. It’s up to us to play a full game, against a great team, and show that we’re still there.
Are you still confident?
You have to be convinced that you can win these games and, at the same time, have a little ball in your belly to play teams that, on paper, are better than us. But in high-level rugby, you can outdo yourself. We have confidence in ourselves because we know we can win this game, but at the same time, we also have to fear that this Toulon team will have a big game on Saturday.
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Feeling a surge in power since the start of the season?
We think we are improving and we have learned the lessons from the previous three games. Now, you have to step up individually and collectively to win.
How do you analyze this Toulon team?
It’s a complete team. There are stars and great players in every position. She is very physical up front and gets forward with her big pack. It is a difficult team to maneuver. We saw that against Toulouse, when they entered the game, it was difficult for them to move. They have a new quality staff (Azema-Mignoni, editor’s note) and great players. We know it won’t be easy, but it’s up to us to be at our best.
The group made many tours against La Rochelle. You were not on the score sheet. Are you coming back fresh?
Yes. I think we come with guns blazing hoping to play a complete game in all sectors throughout the encounter.
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Didn’t the fact that you didn’t play again immediately after Brive make you think?
When you miss it like that, you get frustrated and want to get back into the fight immediately. It was necessary, for those who did not play in La Rochelle, to prepare well, to regain freshness for this marathon that is the Top 14, and to take advantage of this week of work and regeneration, with the hope that Saturday will bear fruit.
The kicking game had not been very effective against Brive. They announce rain against Toulon. Need to add a little more?
If they announce rain, we will not be stubborn, we will have to alternate. Then, here, you never know with time. We were told many times that it was raining and we went through the drops. But we will adapt the strategy, especially offensive, depending on the time, that’s for sure.
There are celebrations for the club’s 120th anniversary and the match is at 3pm on Canal+ Sport. Is it extra motivation?
We are here to play these types of matches. We were all eager to participate. It will be a great rugby party. We disappointed the crowd and disappointed ourselves against Brive. Now it’s up to us to react and live up to it.
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You’ve been at the club for a while, do you measure the reach of this anniversary?
It will be a great party for the region, Catalonia and the USAP in general. It’s up to us not to spoil, but it doesn’t have to be pressure. I think that, on the contrary, we must feed on it. There will be many elders. It’s a special game, but above all, it’s an opportunity to start the season and show that what we did last year is still possible and that we haven’t regressed. It’s up to us to play a great game and take advantage of everything around us to unite.