Stade Rochelais won its very first European Cup last season against the ogre of Leinster (21-24).
But for this new edition - somewhat different with the integration of the South African teams - the maritime club will have to defend its title.
And the mission begins this Saturday against the "Cherry and White" of Gloucester at Marcel-Deflandre (6:30 p.m.).
After a slow start to the season, the fatigue of some executives and the injuries of others, La Rochelle struggled to continue.
Before starting to move forward and come back very strongly in the Top 14. Back on this change in dynamics which could give new impetus to the La Rochelle club as the Champions Cup approaches.
A revival in the Championship
Toulouse, Toulon, Racing 92, among others, fell to Marcel-Deflandre.
A citadel that is believed to be impregnable, but where the Section Paloise, the UBB and Lyon have come to glean success.
Irregular and producers of unconvincing content, Ronan O'Gara's men struggled to string together performances in the Top 14. press, after the defeat of too many against LOU at home on February 4 (16-20).
We take huge waves.
Some are in the water, I hope we will recover them.
There are holes in the boat.
We have five-six players who are in trouble at the moment.
The opponent has the right to defend well.
But we also have the right to attack well and better with more variety and not just melee, melee, melee.
It's up to me to change that
Will Skelton brings all his power to the La Rochelle pack.
ROMAN PERROCHEAU / AFP
And to add: “
We offer them three tries, three gifts.
And we cannot say that we played with all our conviction.
This is serious.
We get what we deserve, there is no bad luck.
Something must change soon.
It's a bit like the last wave
Well, there's no denying that those sharp words had a positive impact.
Since then, Brice Dulin's teammates have been surfing on four consecutive successes.
In Castres (17-32) first, then Brive (32-16) and Pau (32-36) and, more recently, a card at UBB at the Matmut Atlantique stadium (6-36).
In the Champions Cup, La Rochelle also takes place
Above all, the maritime club has regained its flamboyant game.
His attack - second in the ranking of the best in the Top 14 with 553 points - clashes and hurts, with 12 tries scored in four matches, an average of three per match.
But Grégory Alldritt's teammates also walked on the English and Irish clubs, faced during the group stage of the Champions Cup.
They crushed the Saints of Northampton twice twice (46-13; 13-31) before doing the same against the Irish of Ulster (29-36).
Not to mention the narrow victory against this same team in a thick fog (7-3) at the beginning of January.
First in their group ahead of Toulouse and the Stormers, the maritime team is preparing to face Gloucester, 8th in group A. A team they will still have to be wary of, since the solid Alemanno and Ackermann or the fast Thorley Rees-Zammit should line up.
But this La Rochelle team is back, and could continue to beat its opponents...