La Rochelle propel to play-off with 16-7 win over Harlequins

Victor Vito was part of the winning side
Victor Vito was part of the winning side

La Rochelle 16-7 Harlequins, Stade Marcel Deflandre

La Rochelle managed to sneak into the play-off of the European Champions Cup with a 16-7 victory over Harlequins at Stade Marcel Deflandre on Sunday.

The French side though missed the important bonus point that would have seen them claim a home quarter-final and now will face Scarlets in the knock out while Harlequins end the group stage at the bottom.

Alexis Bales kicked a third minute penalty to get La Rochelle off the mark while centre Pierre Aguillon extended the French side's lead to eight points when he crashed past the line in the 19th minute.

As Harlequins failed to add any point in the first half, Kini Murimurivalu danced past the post at the stroke of half time as La Rochelle claimed a 13-0 lead.

Harlequins finally managed to break shackles as Danny Care scored a try in the 46th minute and Marcus Smith slotted the conversion to reduce the gap to six points but Bales with this second penalty coming three minutes later stretched the lead to nine points which La Rochelle managed to retain until the end of the game.

La Rochelle’s New Zealand international Vito said: “We are pretty happy to be in the quarter-finals after what happened in our last two games in the Champions Cup. We didn’t play that well in those two games.

“In difficult conditions it was good to grind out a win rather than score tries helter-skelter and hold on from there. We were still chasing more tries in the last few minutes, but it was just good to win.

“We had thought about what might happen if we got a bonus point, but you can’t disrespect the opposition.

“Harlequins didn’t come here to give us an easy ride and they wanted to win, so we will take it.

“I’m really pleased for the boys but there is so much work to do. We will take our learnings from this game and go back to the drawing board in the TOP 14.”


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table