Home Rugby La Rochelle score last-minute try to clinch Champions Cup title over Leinster

La Rochelle score last-minute try to clinch Champions Cup title over Leinster

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La Rochelle snatched a surprising 24-21 victory over favourites Leinster because of a last-minute strive by Arthur Retiere after a monumental 10-minute goal-line assault in an excellent European Champions Cup last in Marseille on Saturday.

Leinster had seemed heading in the right direction for a record-equalling fifth triumph as they heroically defended their line and a four-point lead for nearly all the last 10 minutes, just for Retiere to lastly stretch over.

Johnny Sexton kicked six penalties and Ross Byrne added one other as Leinster led all through, regardless of a strive in every half for the French aspect by Raymond Rhule and Pierre Bourgarit.

However La Rochelle, overwhelmed in final yr’s last by Toulouse, backed themselves by turning down a succession of kickable penalties to hammer away by way of the forwards, and finally received their reward – by way of a substitute wing.

It was an unbelievable finale to a massively entertaining match as La Rochelle absolutely delivered on coach Ronan O’Gara’s pre-match promise that his group “might not win, but we won’t lose it.”

Two Sexton penalties had Leinster forward as they began with all their common velocity and power however it was La Rochelle who claimed the primary strive when Dillyn Leyds off-loaded cleverly to fellow South African Rhule who then blasted clear to attain.

La Rochelle had come into the sport with a popularity as an influence unit however additionally they confirmed loads of creativity in assault and stretched Leinster all throughout the sphere within the first half.

Nonetheless, their last go accuracy faltered as they failed to show positional dominance into factors and Leinster survived after which earned one other penalty that Sexton slotted for a 12-7 halftime lead.

La Rochelle ruined a lot of their good work with a succession of penalties, which have been punished by Sexton as he edged the Irish province 18-10 forward after an hour.

La Rochelle hit again although with a rolling maul strive for Bourgarit and Ihaia West’s troublesome conversion made it a one-point recreation.

La Rochelle then seemed to have imploded as Wiaan Liebenberg was sin-binned for a ridiculous journey on Jamison Gibson-Park and, with Sexton off injured, Byrne stepped as much as slot the ensuing penalty.

Nonetheless, even all the way down to 14 males, La Rochelle piled on the ahead strain however, declining 4 straightforward pictures at purpose, they might not breach Leinster’s heroic goal-line defence because the clock ticked into the ultimate minute.

They tried once more and, maybe helped by a slip which wrong-footed the defence, it was substitute wing Retiere who stretched out an arm by way of the smallest of gaps to ship the yellow flag-waving hordes into raptures.

West landed the conversion and the whistle sounded to finish a French European double after Lyon gained the Problem Cup on Friday.

“We are a big team, a power team, and that last 10 minutes showed what this shirt and town mean to us,” mentioned La Rochelle lock Will Skelton. “I don’t know how long we are going to party, but it will be a good time in the port.”

Sexton mentioned: “We weren’t at our best. It is devastating. Fair play to La Rochelle, they came here with a plan. I didn’t see them coming back but we did not clear our lines and we paid the price.”

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