Gloucester Rugby 16-27 La Rochelle, Kingsholm
La Rochelle have progressed to the quarter-final of the Heineken Champions Cup as they defeated Gloucester Rugby 27-16 at Kingsholm on Friday.
Gloucester were the first to open their account as George Barton kicked a penalty in the third minute but La Rochelle responded back strong with Will Skelton and Kevin Gourdon ensured Dillyn Leyds went over but Ihaia West's conversion went wide.
A second penalty kick from Barton in the 12th minute reduced the arrears for the hosts but West with a three-pointer of his own restored the two-point lead for La Rochelle at the end of the opening quarter.
The French side increased their lead further when Levani Botia's pass freed wing Arthur Retiere as he dotted down in the 24th minute and West improved making it 6-15 but the Cherry and Whites showed great fightback once again with this time Ruan Ackermann powering his way over in the 33rd minute and Barton kicked the extras as the opening half ended with a 13-15 scoreline.
The start of the second half saw Gloucester suffering a setback with Lewis Ludlow sin-binned in the 48th minute and West with back to back penalties extended La Rochelle's lead to eight points.
Barton with his third penalty kick in the 60th minute kept Gloucester in the game but replacement Jules Plisson ensured there was no slip up for the French side with two more penalties in the 66th and 71st minute to complete a 11-point victory.
Gloucester boss George Skivington had high praises for La Rochelle, who he believes can go on to win the tournament.
“They have got a very strong squad,” Gloucester head coach Skivington said.
“With the firepower they’ve got, I absolutely think they can go on and win it.
“They are in the quarter-finals and second in the French league. I suppose it depends from their point of view if they feel they have got the squad to fight on both fronts. Only they know that.”
Team line up:
Gloucester: Carreras, Sharples, Harris, Atkinson, May, Barton, Heinz, Rapava Ruskin, Walker, Balmain, Slater, Alemanno, Reid, Ludlow, Ackermann.
Reserves: Twelvetrees, Chapman, Craig, Clarke, Clement, Socino, Seville, Ford-Robinson.
La Rochelle: Leyds, Retiere, Rhule, Botia, Favre, West, Kerr Barlow, Priso, Bosch, Joly, Sazy, Skelton, Liebenberg, Gourdon, Vito.
Reserves: Bourgarit, Wardi, Atonio, Lavault, Alldritt, Berjon, Plisson, Doumayrou.