The club's fans went all out, outside the airport

How about this from the La Rochelle fans, giving their team an incredible send-off as they head for London and a Champions Cup final showdown with Gallic rivals Toulouse.

La Rochelle face Toulouse at Twickenham on Saturday 22 May at 4.45pm – with the latter looking for a record fifth European Cup win.

Can the support behind La Rochelle give them the belief they can win? The above is a sight many rugby clubs will be jealous of and one that speaks to a sense of civic pride and what it means to identify with your rugby club.

One player highlighted as vital to La Rochelle’s chances on Saturday is giant Aussie lock Will Skelton – and while so much focus has been on the side’s playing style and the quality of coaching at the club, Skelton has revealed something else about about La Rochelle coach Ronan O’Gara.

“Me and the boys, we’ve got the old Rugby 08 up on the PS2 in the team room and we often play off Ireland and put Rog on the pitch, with his 95 or 99 rating or something.

“Yeah, I’ve known of Rog, he’s a legend of the game. I didn’t know how he’d go as a coach though, because it doesn’t always transfer being a great player to a great coach, but for me, he’s been awesome. He’s been someone who has helped on the side of playing to your strengths.

“Having a coach like that, he’s never been down on me or never comes down hard on the boys. It’s the little stuff, I remember one of our first games against Toulouse and he ripped into me and Lopeti Timani and it was a wake-up call that I’d probably been saying in my head.

“But then to hear it from one of the head honchos, him and Jono, was an eye-opener and that’s the best type of coach, he’s direct, he’s straight and I enjoy it.

“I think him and (director of rugby) Jono Gibbes have been great with the direction in how we want to play, they haven’t pigeon-holed us into a specific style but let us play to our strengths.

“Ronan and Jono facilitate that at training and it’s showing on the field.”

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