One of the key figures in the vital Ciel et Blanc victory over Toulouse (25-5) on Saturday, former Springbok Jacques Cronje looks forward to yet another crucial encounter, against USAP in Perpignan on February 8th (6.30PM). (Crédit : Julien Poupart // Attitude Rugby).
Jacques, what for you was the most satisfying aspect of the win against Toulouse on Saturday?
For me there were several huge positives. First of all, our defence was extraordinaire: everyone was present, everyone did their best, and that is something we must maintain at all costs. We must keep that up. Against Toulouse, the most crucial thing for us was that the team had to take a step forward. And we did that. Everything we have worked on since the beginning of the season is starting to come together, everybody believes in the things we do now, and that is important. Another really satisfying thing for us was the support of everyone who was there. There were more than 42 000 spectators, and it’s amazing to know that the Racing supporters are still believing in us, still supporting us, and I want to thank them for that.
You now have virtually two weeks to prepare for another important game in Perpignan. How does that change the build-up for you?
Every game in the Top 14 is important, and our next match is just as important for them as it is for us. We don’t play this week, so we can focus more on the build-up to Perpignan, to make sure we continue our play, and that we refresh everything we’re working on. What’s great is that we can work without any pressure for this week. Each guy can work on his own individual stuff, and the team can work on the things we have done all year, without pressure. And that makes a huge difference.
Does the win against Toulouse mean you can travel to Perpignan with more confidence next week?
As the saying goes, ‘You are only as good as your next match’, so we have to keep our feet on the ground, and not get carried away. As Laurent Travers said, just because we beat Toulouse, that doesn’t make us world champions. One positive point was that in all the other games, we had chances, but didn’t take them. But the big difference on Saturday was that when we had a chance, we took it and that was awesome for the team. That gives positive energy for the whole team because it proves that if we work hard for something we will get the result.
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Saturday 26th August