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Semi-finalists from 2016/17 La Rochelle return to the European Rugby Challenge Cup and head to Krasnoyarsk to face last season’s Continental Shield winners Enisei-STM in a Pool 4 fixture on Saturday (09:00 BST).
- This will be the first meeting between Enisei and La Rochelle, however, La Rochelle will be the third Top 14 side to visit Enisei (Brive twice, Bordeaux-Begles once).
- After winning four of their opening eight games in the Challenge Cup, Enisei have since lost 10 in a row.
- La Rochelle have won seven of their last nine games in the Challenge Cup,including six of their last seven in the pool stage.
- Enisei-STM conceded just 7.5 penalties per game on average last season, fewer than any other side in the Challenge Cup.
- Enisei’s Yury Kushnarev has never missed a conversion in the Challenge Cup (13/13) including all eight of his attempts last season. No player attempted as many without missing at least once in 2017/18.
C'est un long périple qui attend les Jaune et Noir pour cette première journée de #ChallengeCup ! Ils s'envolent demain pour la Russie et affronteront @Enisei_STM samedi à 10h00 (heure française). L'avant-match en intégralité sur https://t.co/6NI0PsbKbV #FievreSR pic.twitter.com/uLYV2Qp3r3
— Stade Rochelais (@staderochelais) October 10, 2018
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La Rochelle sent out an early warning to their Challenge Cup rivals as they scored 12 tries in a 82-21 victory over Enisei-STM in Krasnoyarsk.
Gregory Alldritt gave La Rochelle the lead in the opening two minutes but Enisei hit back minutes later when Denis Simplikevich dived over and Yuri Kushnarev popped over the extras.
Maxime Lafage put the French side back in front before Hikairo Forbes and Paul Jordaan extended the advantage with two tries in as many minutes.
Mikheil Gachechiladze closed the gap to 14 points with a try on 25 minutes but Marc Andreu and Jean-Victor Goillot grabbed a pair of scores before half-time to give the French side a 33-point cushion.
👏 👏A big win to start the day in Russia for @staderochelais
— Challenge Cup (@ERChallengeCup) October 13, 2018
Romaric Camou extended the La Rochelle lead before Pierre Aguillon and Jordaan also dotted down in second half.
Simplikevich grabbed a consolation try for Enisei but Goillot, Aguillon and Ihaia West would also run in tries as the away side picked up a bonus point victory.
The two sides will meet again at Stade Marcel Deflandre next Friday.