Match Centre: Heineken Champions Cup semi-final: La Rochelle 47-28 Exeter Chiefs

Raymond Rhule scored two tries for La Rochelle
Raymond Rhule scored two tries for La Rochelle
©Steve Haag

La Rochelle 47-28 Exeter Chiefs, Matmut Atlantique

La Rochelle have made it to the finals for the third consecutive year as they defeated Exeter Chiefs 47-28 in the semi-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup at Matmut Atlantique on Sunday.

It is also the most points and most tries scored by a team in a Heineken Champions Cup semi-final. The French side will now face Leinster in the final of the competition in Dublin on 20th May.

Exeter got off to a flying start as Sam Simmonds powered over the line for the opening try and Joe Simmonds converted it to make it 0-7 before Raymond Rhule collected a chip from Antoine Hastoy to touchdown. Hastoy made no mistake with the conversion as the scores were levelled.

La Rochelle doubled their tally as Ulupano Seuteni breached the Exeter defence to cross the whitewash and Hastoy was spot on with the conversion once again to make it 14-7.

With Exeter down to 14 players temporarily around the half hour mark following the yellow card to Dan Frost for bringing down a maul, La Rochelle with tries from Gregory Alldritt and Tawera Kerr-Barlow ensured they went into the break with a 26-7 lead.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first with Rhule completing his second after collecting a perfect cross-field kick from Hastoy before Pierre Bourgarit also went over following a rumbling maul to take their lead to 40-7. Josh Iosefa-Scott dived from close range but his effort was negated with Kerr Barlow spotting a gap and finished cleverly for his second.

Even though Exeter showed a fightback in the last 10 minutes with tries from Olly Woodburn and Jack Yeandle, La Rochelle went on to win the encounter comfortably by 19 points.

Team line up:

La Rochelle: Dulin; Leyds, Seuteni, Favre, Rhule; Hastoy, Kerr-Barlow; Wardi, Bourgarit, Atonio, Sazy, Skelton, Dillane, Botia, Alldritt (capt).

Reserves: Lespiaucq, Sclavi, Colombe Reazel, Lavault, Boudehent, Bourdeau, Berjon, Thomas.

Exeter: Wyatt; Nowell (capt), Slade, O'Brien, Woodburn; J Simmonds, Becconsall; Sio, Frost, Street, Kirsten, Gray, Vermeulen, Tshiunza, S Simmonds.

Reserves: Yeandle, Abuladze, Iosefa-Scott, Davis, Ewers, Townsend, Skinner, Hogg


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table