Next on our trip around Europe is to the south of France and La Rochelle, home of the 2018 Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finalists and 2019 Challenge Cup runners-up.
European Cup record
La Rochelle has played two seasons in the Heineken Champions Cup. In their maiden campaign in 2017/18, the French side managed to finish first in Pool 1 with 20 points but could not clinch a home quarter-final spot. That meant a trip to Parc y Scarlets to face Welsh region Scarlets, where they would be beaten 29-17. The French side also enjoyed a run in the Challenge Cup in 2019, making it to the final before being beaten by ASM Clermont Auvergne (36-16).
La Rochelle finished third in Heineken Champions Cup Pool 2 last season with 10 points, behind Exeter Chiefs and Glasgow Warriors. Stade won two matches, on the road in Glasgow (12-7) in Round 4 and a 30-23 home success in Round 5 over Sale Sharks.
Director of Rugby
Former All Blacks international Jono Gibbes began his coaching career at Leinster Rugby as a forward coach, winning three European titles with the Irish province (2009, 2011 and 2012). After a stint at ASM Clermont Auvergne and then Ulster Rugby, Gibbes took over from Patrice Collazo in June 2018 at La Rochelle. Since 2019, Jono Gibbes can also draw on the experience of Munster legend Ronan O’Gara who joined the staff at La Rochelle as head coach.
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La Rochelle has several big name internationals currently at their disposal, including French international No.8 Grégory Alldritt, New Zealand scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow, wing Arthur Retière and back-row Victor Vito.
La Rochelle have been drawn into Heineken Champions Cup Pool A and will face Bath Rugby and Edinburgh Rugby. The French side faced the Scottish region in the 2017 Challenge Cup quarter-finals, winning 32-22 in the Scottish capital.