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La Rochelle will host their first Champions Cup match this weekend as Ulster Rugby visit Stade Marcel-Deflandre on Sunday afternoon, live on Sky Sports. Ulster grinded out a 19-9 win over Wasps last week, while La Rochelle put on a brilliant display of attacking rugby to defeat Harlequins 34-27 at Twickenham Stoop.
· Ulster have lost their last two games away to TOP 14 opposition, both in last season’s campaign, this after winning four of their previous five away games in France.
· At home, La Rochelle have won their last five European pool stage games (all Challenge Cup), with four of those victories coming by 20+ points.
· Ulster were one of just two teams that didn’t concede a try in the opening round (also Bath).
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La Rochelle’s first ever European Cup campaign is off to a flyer after this convincing win over Ulster made it a maximum 10 points from their first two games in Pool 1.
- The first half was a fairly even affair, with the TOP 14 side taking an early lead when Andrew Trimble's pass was intercepted and La Rochelle broke at pace, wih Jeremy Senzelle finishing off the move.
- Aussie Christian Lealiifano then replied for Ulster after taking Tommy Bowe's inside pass to touch down after some lovely quick handling in the build-up.
- Two Alexis Bales penalties made it 13-10 to the French side at half time, but afer the break they took control, firstly through Victor Vito who charged through the middle of the Ulster defence.
- Kevin Gourdon found another gap to score a third try, then Pierre Aguillon touched down in the corner before Jason Eaton crossed the line as Ulster were unable to sustain incessant La Rochelle pressure.
- Tommy Bowe ran on to a late Charles Piutau grubber kick to score a consolation.
- La Rochelle were unbeaten at home in domestic competitions last season as they finished top of the standings, and won their last five Challenge Cup pool stage games, with four of those wins by 20 points or more.
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