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2018 Champions Cup quarter-finalists La Rochelle will look to keep their excellent home record in the Challenge Cup intact on Saturday when they host Bristol Bears at Stade Marcel Deflandre.
- This will be just the sixth meeting between La Rochelle and Bristol Bears, and the TOP 14 side have lost just one of the previous five, winning both home games.
- La Rochelle have won each of their last six home pool games, winning the last five by an average margin of 28 points.
- Bristol are looking to avoid a third consecutive defeat in this competition, and only once before have they lost three or more games in a row.
- La Rochelle’s Maxime Lafage is the top points scorer after three rounds (47), with one try and 21 conversions.
- Despite making just two appearances, La Rochelle’s Romaric Camou is the leading metre maker after three rounds, also topping the charts for breaks (10) and defenders beaten (25).
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) December 14, 2018
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A terrific defensive display from Bristol Bears ensured a historic victory over La Rochelle at the Stade Marcel Deflandre, defeating their Pool 4 rivals 13-3.
Bristol’s Callum Sheedy and La Rochelle’s Arthur Retiere exchanged early penalties before fly-half Ryan Lamb was sin-binned for the French side.
A second Sheedy penalty gave his side a half-time lead 6-3, but it got even better for the Gallagher Premiership side after the break with the Bears crossing over for the games’ crucial try.
Superb initial work from flanker Nick Haining who charged down Tawera Kerr-Barlow’s box-kick and once Bristol recycled the ball, Jordan Crane dotted down. Sheedy added the extra two points to extend the Bears’ lead to 13-3.
However, the visitors spent the remaining half an hour under the pump, with a tremendous amount of pressure coming from La Rochelle – who brought on the Fijian ‘Domination Man’ Levani Botia to help break down Bears’ defence.
Bristol managed to hang on despite going down to 14 men for the last five minutes and now have a chance of a reaching the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
The Bears head to Sochi next for their Round 5 encounter against Enisei-STM on Saturday 13 January, 2019, while La Rochelle host Zebre Rugby Club the night before.
A famous night in our European history 🙌
UP THE BEARS! 🐻 pic.twitter.com/jzf9wdztWd
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) December 15, 2018