Match Centre: Champions Cup: Leinster 40-13 La Rochelle

James Lowe scored two tries for Leinster
James Lowe scored two tries for Leinster
©Steve Haag

Leinster 40-13 La Rochelle, Aviva Stadium

Leinster progressed to the semi-final of the Investec Champions Cup as they defeated La Rochelle 40-13 in the quater-final at Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

The win will be a huge relief for the Irish province after they were defeated in the finals by La Rochelle in the previous two seasons. Leinster will now take on the Northampton Saints in the semi-final at Croke Park.

An infringement from La Rochelle allowed Ross Byrne to start the proceedings with a seventh minute penalty goal before the fly-half and Jordan Larmour combined to send James Lowe over the line for the opening try in the 16th minute. Byrne followed with the conversion as Leinster raced to 10-0 lead.

Jamison Gibson-Park, who starred with a hat-trick last weekend almost went over the line but was held back by La Rochelle captain Gregory Alldritt. Antoine Hastoy and Byrne traded a pair of penalties making it 16-6 before Lowe's break allowed Gibson-Park to score Leinster's second try in the 37th minute.

At the stroke of half time, La Rochelle pulled back things a bit with Louis Penverne powering his way over at the back of a maul and Hastoy improved it as the teams completed the opening half with a 23-13 scoreline.

Leinster made a brisk start to the second half as Ryan Bair brushed away tackles from Jack Nowell and Antoine Hastoy and Byrne's conversion made it 30-13. Any chance of a comeback for La Rochelle was put off with Dan Sheenan diving in the corner in the 56th minute and Lowe completed his second in the 60th minute to steer Leinster to a comfortable victory.

Team line up:

Leinster: Frawley; Larmour, Henshaw, Osborne, Lowe; Byrne, Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong; McCarthy, Jenkins; Baird, Connors, Doris (capt).

Reserves: Kelleher, Milne, Ala'alatoa, Molony, Conan, McGrath, H Byrne, Van der Flier.

La Rochelle: Leyds; Nowell, Seuteni, Danty, Thomas; Hastoy, Kerr-Barlow; Penverne, Latu, Atonio; Dillane, Skelton; Cancoriet, Botia, Alldritt (capt).

Reserves: Lespiaucq, Kaddouri, Sclavi, Lavault, Boudehent, Tanga, Iribaren, West.


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table