Top 14 – A must-have match for Tola Lata as Montpellier travel to La Rochelle with just one professional hooker

Stade Rochelais hosts Montpellier in the Top 14 matchday 14. Tolu Latu, on loan from Montpellier to La Rochelle, will feature in Deflandre against MHR, who only have one professional hooker on their fixture list…

Starting in the first leg (J1) and Montpellier’s 26-15 win against La Rochelle, Tolu Latu will experience a funny situation this Saturday. The Australian international, on loan to Caravel until the end of the season and with no clause preventing him from playing against the club with whom he is contracted until 2025, will be fighting well against his partners from the start of the season.

No.1 hooker under Richard Cockerill (5 starts in 6 games) but unused by the new staff at MHR since the end of November, Latu will inevitably want to shine. As in his first five appearances in yellow and black. But probably a little more, considering the opponent and this reunion.

“If he’s upset? No. But he’s very motivated this week, nuance Donnacha Ryan, La Rochelle’s forwards coach. He has the opportunity to play on the weekend. The most important thing is that he performs well and we are confident that he is capable of doing the job. He has to get out the emotions associated with facing his old team. He is a very good guy in the group. He’s still laughing, joking with the players, I think he’s very grateful to be here.”

MHR travels with only one professional hooker

Looking at the fixture list, where Paenga-Amosa is the only professional hooker, we can question the choice of the Montpellier staff to let Tola Lata go on loan to La Rochelle. In addition to the Australian number two, the Georgian Vano Karkadze, who is currently preparing with the Georgian selection for the European Rugby Championship, is not available. And especially the Garbisi – Tolofua exchange It was late, even if it is not compromised! The Montpellier coaches therefore decided to replace the young Adrien Sonzogni with Baptiste Erdocio, a training pillar. However, let’s remember that the former Olympic Biarritz has helped the heel several times in the past and trained the litter.

“I’ve known Tolu for a long time, I’d rather have him on my team than play against him. Will Skelton was all smiles this week. We played together when we were young, he hasn’t changed. He’s a good person and it’s incredible to be here. The club asked me what he was like as a person and I told the truth, I said he would do anything for the team. I think he’s in a good place now and I hope he continues like that because he’s playing really well for us. He makes a big impact whether he is a starter or on the bench. He’s a world-class player.” What is certain is that Tolu Latu will want to have a great game in La Rochelle colors to show his true worth to his former coaches if needed.

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