Match Centre: Heineken Champions Cup: La Rochelle 24-10 Saracens

Owen Farrell kicked five points as Saracens suffered a defeat to La Rochelle
Owen Farrell kicked five points as Saracens suffered a defeat to La Rochelle

La Rochelle 24-10 Saracens, Stade Marcel Deflandre

Title holders La Rochelle managed to oust Saracens as they sealed a 24-10 victory in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup at Stade Marcel Deflandre on Sunday.

The French side are now aiming to reach the final for the third consecutive time having won the title for the first time in 2022. They will be taking on Exeter Chiefs in the semi-final in Bordeaux on 30th April.

La Rochelle made most of Saracens' indiscipline early in the game as Antoine Hastoy kicked back to back penalties in the 2nd and 5th minutes to give them a 6-0 lead. He could have made it 9-0 but his third kick that came in the 7th minute bounced back off the post.

Midway through the first half, Saracens lost Billy Vunipola to injury as Owen Farrell kicked a penalty goal for the opening points for the Premiership side. Nevertheless, Hastoy restored the six point lead for La Rochelle with another three-pointer in the 23rd minute after Saracens infringed at breakdown.

The lead swelled to 16-3 by the end of the opening half for La Rochelle as scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow capitalized on a looping pass from Grégory Alldritt for the opening try of the game and Hastoy made no mistake with the conversion.

Both the teams were desperate for an early breakthrough in the second half and it did not come until the 58th minute when Kerr-Barlow dived from close range for his second try but this time Hastoy missed the conversion with the scoreline becoming 21-3.

Eroni Mawi burrowed over from a metre out for Saracens' only try in the game that came in the in the 65th minute to provide a glimmer of hope for Mark McCall's men as a conversion from Farrell reduced the gap down to 11 points. But La Rochelle’s breakdown supremacy earned them another penalty on 68 minutes, Hastoy slotting from range to bolster their position.

Saracens were given another chance as La Rochelle's Brice Dulin was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Alex Lewington in the 72nd minute but the Premiership side's hope vanished as they lost Tom Woolstencroft to yellow card for a dangerous clear out at the ruck four minutes later as La Rochelle maintained their 14 point lead for the remainder of the match.

Team line up:

La Rochelle: Dulin; Favre, Seuteni, Danty, Rhule; Hastoy, Kerr-Barlow; Wardi, Bourgarit, Atonio, Lavault, Skelton, Dillane, Botia, Alldritt (c).

Reserves: Lespiaucq, Thompson-Stringer, Sclavi, Sazy, Tanga, Bourdeau, Berjon, Thomas.

Saracens: Goode; Malins, Lozowski, Tompkins, Maitland; Farrell (c), Van Zyl; M Vunipola, George, Riccioni, Itoje, Tizard, Isiekwe, Earl, B Vunipola.

Reserves: Woolstencroft, Mawi, Judge, Hunter-Hill, Wray, De Haas, Taylor, Lewington.


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table