Racing 92 fly-half Finn Russell believes their Heineken Champions Cup semi-final with Stade Rochelais on Sunday will probably be “even harder” than their hard-fought quarter-final against Sale Sharks.
The Ile-de-France side had to battle back from 10-6 down against Sale last weekend before sealing a 41-22 success at Paris La Défense Arena and a tie against their TOP 14 rivals at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens.
“It’s probably going to be even harder,” predicted Scottish international Russell. “We have already played La Rochelle a few times this year and last year they beat us in the semi-finals of the TOP 14. We know them, we will have to prepare well.”
Racing’s director of rugby, Laurent Travers, echoed those thoughts as the Parisian club prepare to meet last season’s Heineken Champions Cup runners-up, having beaten them 23-10 at Paris La Défense Arena, before losing 19-0 at Stade Marcel-Deflandre in the TOP 14.
“We are well placed to know the quality of this team,” said Travers, a European Cup winner with CA Brive in 1997. “They’re very difficult to move around, as they have an all-conquering pack of forwards.”