The Pro D2 final will be “an arm wrestle” for Joe El Abd, the coach of Oyonnax
Yes, we have never hidden our ambition to be as high as possible in the top 6. We had to work hard in the semi-finals to reach the final, but…
Yes, we have never hidden our ambition to be as high as possible in the top 6. We had to work hard in the semi-finals to reach the final, but we are indeed where we wanted to be at the start. You have to take full advantage of it.
Do you consider yourselves the logical favorites for this final?
The goal was to qualify for the finals. Afterwards, there are six teams that have the opportunity to fight for the title. We had a great first part of the season, but we also know that everything was reset last week. It is the final phase that counts. So, favorite or not favorite, I don’t know. Grenoble had a good second half of the season. We worked a lot to be there, now we want to take advantage of this moment to offer our best game on the pitch.
You don’t want that favorite tag…
(Cuts) No, it’s not that I don’t want it, it’s just that it’s not important to us. Above all, we must focus on ourselves and our strengths. It’s a final, we have to be ready to play our best game of the season this Saturday at 9 p.m.
How do your players feel on the eve of this final?
There is excitement. Playing here, in Toulouse, the Mecca of rugby, gives an even more interesting taste. But we’ve talked a lot since the start of the season about controlling our emotions to be here right now. We know that in cleaver matches, the team that best controls its nerves often wins the match. That’s why we stay calm while looking forward to it.
It will be an arm wrestle, as is often the case in the final phase
Are you sure of your strengths?
This group has been working together for four years. We kept the team structure voluntarily. We learned from our failures in the final phase, we continued to progress during the season, but now is the big day, we have to be ready. We know we are strong, but now is the time to deliver our best performance.
Ernest-Wallon will not be full on Saturday evening…
Yes, it’s a pity that the stadium is not sold out. But that’s understandable because it’s far from home. But that’s not going to ruin our party. It will be a great event for both teams. Last week, it was wonderful to see our stadium full, it had been a long time since we had seen that. We are a small town of 22,000 inhabitants, the smallest in the professional world, but we also have a whole region behind us. We are proud of that.
Grenoble is also from the same region. Does it create a strong rivalry between you?
This final is also a derby. It cannot be denied that these two teams come from the same region. But it’s great.
Will this match give birth to a great opposition of style?
I don’t know. These are two teams with very good players, already. Grenoble has very strong impact players. We don’t play exactly the same, so much the better. It will be a great show.
What are your opponent’s main strengths?
A big pack, a nice scrum, a good touch, but those are also our strengths. It will be a showdown, as is often the case in the final phase. The team that will be the most accurate and the most realistic will certainly win it. »