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La Rochelle hoping for second season success

Thursday 14th November 2019

1:18 pm (GMT)

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La Rochelle hoping for second season success

La Rochelle wing Vincent Rattez

La Rochelle will host Exeter Chiefs on Saturday in just their second Heineken Champions Cup season, having reached the last eight on their only other season in the competition back in 2018.

They won all three of their home fixtures in that campaign and will hope to continue that run against Exeter, with the clash live from the Stade Marcel Deflandre at 15:15 GMT on BT Sport and beIN SPORTS.

Key quotes

  • Jono Gibbes (La Rochelle): I think it’s an exciting pool for our players: Exeter, Sale [Sharks], Glasgow [Warriors]. They play different styles, it’s players that we don’t get to play against regularly, and I think that creates an excitement for our guys. This tournament starts with a match against Exeter, a form team, a club with a great story, and it’ll be a great opening test for us. 
  •  Rob Baxter (Exeter): They look, almost, able to beat anybody within the French program. So, we’ve got to really have a focus on what we want to achieve. There’ll be some key elements of how they play that we are going to have to address. But, on the whole, I want to make sure that we are fully focused on the things that we can do that will take the game away from La Rochelle. 

Key facts

  •  La Rochelle and Exeter have never met in the Heineken Champions Cup but did clash in the 2014/15 Challenge Cup, with Exeter winning both matches by over 20 points.
  • La Rochelle have won six of their last eight games against Premiership opposition including each of their last two in a row, but they have never made it three on the bounce.
  • Exeter beat more defenders per game (33) than any other side in the Heineken Champions Cup, while they also spent the most time in possession on average.
  • Don Armand played every minute of Exeter’s Heineken Champions Cup campaign last season, the only player to do so for the Chiefs.

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Bonus point success for Exeter Chiefs over La Rochelle

Saturday 16th November 2019

5:17 pm (GMT)

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Bonus point success for Exeter Chiefs over La Rochelle

Henry Slade in Heineken Champions Cup action

A clinical display of attacking rugby from Exeter Chiefs was enough to secure them all five points on the road against La Rochelle after a comfortable 31-12 win in Heineken Champions Cup Pool 2.

Bruising forward play was the order of the day for Exeter early on and the ball reached Dave Dennis who burrowed his way over, with Joe Simmonds slotting over the simple conversion.

Handling errors proved costly for La Rochelle in the first half and it was a stray pass that went beyond their own try line that gave Exeter an attacking platform.

From that scrum, Exeter worked it wide and after a terrific pass wide from Simmonds, Tom O’Flaherty was able to step inside his man and powered over the line in the corner with a stunning finish.

La Rochelle threatened a comeback at the start of the second half after some vintage play from the French side who worked the hands brilliantly as Arthur Retière found Geoffrey Doumayrou to dive over the try line.

That was as good as it got for La Rochelle who were building pressure before a stray pass allowed Henry Slade to break the line and grab possession before sprinting away for a third Exeter try.

A fourth soon followed as with penalty advantage, Sam Simmonds showed all his strength to hold off the La Rochelle tackles on 62 minutes and powered his way over for the bonus point try.

The English side added another three points in the final six minutes before La Rochelle did bag a consolation try from Kini Murimurivalu in the final play of the match.

Exeter will look to make it two mins from as many matches next weekend when they take on Glasgow Warriors at Sandy Park while La Rochelle travel to face Sale Sharks.

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