La Rochelle fly-half Ryan Lamb says his club are “buzzing” ahead of their maiden European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final against Scarlets on Friday at Parc y Scarlets.
The Pool 1 winners progressed with 20 points in their first Champions Cup campaign, but did not secure a home quarter-final after defeats to Wasps and Ulster Rugby in Rounds 4 and 5.
Lamb – who has scored 20 points so far in this season’s competition – thinks being the tournament newcomers means the pressure is off his side as they take on an experienced Scarlets line-up.
— Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) March 26, 2018
“It’s the first time for us, so it’s a learning curve for the club,” said Lamb. “The pressure is off really, but confidence is high and we’ve had a couple of TOP 14 wins, so the lads are buzzing.
“We know Scarlets are a top team, but we don’t want to change our game, as it has got us this far.
“The lads are under no illusions as to how difficult it will be. Scarlets stuck to it in the Pool stage and have a number of internationals back.
“We like to play with the ball in hand and get it to our quick backs who can beat people. They play a similar game to us, so it’s going to be a very exciting and interesting match.
“It looks like it’s going to be a sell-out as well, so that makes it even more exciting.”
— Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 25, 2018
The 31-year-old also highlighted EPCR European Player of the Year 2018 nominee Levani Botia – who scored two tries against Wasps in Round 3 – as a key threat in Friday’s match.
The Fijian, who is an accomplished centre as well as back row forward, has been a firm fixture at flanker his season and Lamb believes he is now one of the best in the world.
“He’s a machine,” Lamb commented. “He carries the ball, he works hard and I think he is one of the best players in TOP 14, and one of the best back rows in the world. Hopefully, he can continue like that on Friday.”