La Rochelle ease past Bristol Bears in Challenge Cup play-off

Ian Madigan ended on the losing side for Bristol Bears
Ian Madigan ended on the losing side for Bristol Bears

La Rochelle 39-15 Bristol Rugby, Stade Marcel Deflandre

La Rochelle came up with a five-try performance as they went on to outplay Bristol Bears 39-15 in the quarter-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup at Stade Marcel Deflandre on Saturday.

La Rochelle will now line-up against Sale Sharks in the semi-final that will be played on the third week of April in Stade Marcel Deflandre.

Ihaia West kicked an eighth-minute penalty goal to begin the proceedings for La Rochelle and they soon extended their lead to 10 points with Gregory Alldritt crossing over in the 13th minute and West following with a conversion.

The response from Bristol came in the 18th minute when Ian Madigan kicked a penalty goal but the visitors suffered a setback when La Rochelle were awarded a penalty try at the start of the second quarter that made the scoreline 17-3.

Vincent Rattez then played a pivotal role in setting up the next two tries for the French side scored by Geoffrey Doumayrou (27') and Wian Liebenberg (40') as they amassed 29 points before the break. A TMO consulted try from Steven Luatua in the 36th minute saw the teams end the first half with a 29-10 scoreline.

West with his second penalty kick in the 53rd minute further stretched La Rochelle's lead before they managed to get their fifth try through man of the match Rattez in the 72nd minute taking their tally to 39 points. Piers O'Conor scored a consolation try for the visitors but they were always starring down the battle with La Rochelle completing a 24 point victory.