From our Special Envoy in San Sebastián
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How do you approach this semi-final of the Top 14 against Stade Toulousain?
Laurent Travers: I hope we have a very good state of mind. We know who we're going to face against. Stade Toulousain finished first, with three more wins than us. Over the whole season and the 26 rounds, they have been much better and more consistent than us.
In what physical state are your players after the play-off win against Stade Français Paris?
We had a break because we were not present in the final phase of the European Cup. We were able to regenerate and we were able to build rhythm by playing last week. As we played in a big heat, the week was based on freshness and recovery. If it's hot on Friday, it will be the same conditions for both teams.
Against the Parisians, you suffered in the scrum...
It is often said that "rugby is the school of life". Everything is called into question from one week to the next. Just because you've performed one week doesn't mean you'll be successful the next. The reverse is true. It is not in six days that we will become very good and it is not in six days that we will become very bad. We have been working since the beginning of the season to be able to live these kinds of meetings. I hope the players will be keen to do the right thing. The revenge is over, you have to answer present on the 80 minutes you have offered. To perform well and have one more match at the Stade de France.
See alsoTop 14: Santiago Chocobares lives his dream at Stade Toulousain
How do you prepare to face a team that scored 15 more points than you in the regular season?
I don't know if it's easy to prepare. When you see the images, it's much more difficult. We know that this is a team that is well in place, that does what it needs to be in terms of power and speed. They also have this ability to be able to keep the ball. It's not talk: out of 26 games, they won 17, we won 14. They have been more efficient in terms of accounting and rugby.
Are you going to go anyway?
(Smiles) Yes, yes, we will be there! And present. But we are lucid.
You played two matches in Spain, a Top 14 final in Barcelona and a Champions Cup final in Bilbao. What does this mean to you?
We see that it is a country that loves football but also sport more generally. They love sports, but also enjoy, have fun. We saw it in Barcelona and Bilbao, there was an atmosphere that was such that it transcends all the players. It's good for sport and for rugby.
"Don't worry, rugby continues and so do I, so it's fabulous." Laurent Travers
This match could be, in case of setbacks, your last as manager of Racing 92. How are you living these last moments?
I live them very well! (Smiles) But that's not important to me. What is important is Racing 92, it's the team. I don't play first. So it will be difficult for me to be able to do anything for 80 minutes. What's important is that the players have fun. And that Racing does what it takes to honor this jersey. So that the team and I have the right to play one more game. I'm enjoying it, I'm lucky to be able to be there. It's an honour. I want to thank the players, the staff and the whole club because they allow me to still be able to vibrate. After that, don't worry, rugby continues and so do I, so it's fabulous.
Does it add a particular emotion?
It adds to that, of course. Because we know it can stop. But something stops and something else begins. That's how life is. Honestly, I don't pay particular attention to it.
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