Gloucester Rugby play La Rochelle on Friday night under the lights at Kingsholm in a knockout European Champions Cup game.
Currently second in the Top 14, La Rochelle are a physical side and Cherry and White flanker Jordy Reid said he was looking forward to the fixture when he spoke to the press earlier in the week.
On the Champions Cup
“Even when I was playing back home for the Rebels, you’d watch the Heineken Cup games. It’s a pretty special tournament and to be able to be involved in the competition and to be playing against big clubs like Ulster and La Rochelle is pretty special part of a career that I’ll be able to look back on when I finish.”
On the back row and the number on his shirt
“Across most teams in the back row, it changes. Some guys have a big jumping six, or a big ball carrying six and a nippy seven. As long as you’ve got a nice balance, it doesn’t really matter where in the scrum you’re packing. You pack and push in the scrum and then we’ve all got our roles within our attacking system and defensive system and in the lineout. The number on your back doesn’t really matter too much as long as we’ve got our systems in place, it looks after itself.”
On the combination with Lewis Ludlow and Ruan Ackermann
“I guess the continuity definitely helps us. You get used to each other’s game and on a personal level, the more you play the better it is for yourself just so you get confident in your own game and your skills are always getting better. The more you play the better you’re going to be.
“Unfortunately for a couple of guys in our team, especially early on, there were a few injuries which probably did lead to us playing games. I think the three of us have taken the opportunities when they’ve come which has been nice and I think the continuity does help.”
On the maul
“We put a lot of work into that every week. That’s not just the eight guys on the field at the time, that’s all the forwards in the squad. We have some big mauling sessions and the guys not in the team that week put a lot of pressure on defending and make sure that we’re all in tight and that we’re all doing our roles correctly. It’s a big effort and we put a lot of effort into it every week.
“Particularly at the start of the year, we were getting some good pay out of it and getting some good maul tries and it’s been a weapon. It hasn’t been as strong for us over the last couple of weeks but we tinkered with it coming into Exeter and I think you definitely saw that pay off which is nice.”
Facing La Rochelle
“We want to try and keep the ball in play and make the game time as long as possible. Tempo into everything we do. We don’t want to give them too much time to rest so if we get into a lineout we want to get there quick and get the ball in and out. They’re a big forward pack so we want to test the fitness of their forwards and make sure they’re always moving.
“We don’t want to give them time to get a rest because that’s where a lot of their momentum comes from. Will Skelton, they’ve got a big front row that like to try and dent the line so I think if we can test them with their speed to get set and their speed to react to what our play is then for us, we just want to be confident in what we’re doing. We’ve got a few moves coming into this so we just want to back that and play with pace and confidence.
“You respect who you’re coming up against but you’re never intimidated or want to take a backward step. The best way you can show respect to the opposition is by going your hardest and trying to fly into them and take them on front on. As a team and as a pack, we’re going to be doing that and that’s what I like in the game, the physical battle and bringing a bit of energy. Hopefully we can continue that on Friday.”