Match Centre: Northampton Saints 13-31 La Rochelle

Northampton have lost all their four matches in the tournament
Northampton have lost all their four matches in the tournament

Northampton Saints 13-31 La Rochelle, cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens

La Rochelle took full advantage of two red cards from Northampton as they sealed a 31-13 victory in the fourth round of the Heineken Champions Cup at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

The result meant La Rochelle finished the group at the top with four wins from as many games while Northampton have lost their four matches.

Saints fly-half Fin Smith was the first man to put points on the scoreboard when he dissected the uprights from close range with nine minutes played before Levani Botia led La Rochelle's response when he dotted down from a close-range pick and go. Antoine Hastoy kicked the conversion to make it 3-7.

As the break was approaching, Northampton were reduced to 14 players with Fraser Dingwall sent-off for a head to head tackle on Dillyn Leyds.

The Saints reduced the gap down to one point with Smith kicking a three-pointer following which Quentin Lespiaucq-Brettes took the ball from a line out to score and Hastoy improved it to make it 6-14.

The 51st minute saw the visitors down to 14 players temporarily with Tawera Kerr-Barlow sin-binned for not releasing Northampton wing Courtnall Skosan. The Saints immediately seized the momentum as Smith sent a lofted kick which was collected by Rory Hutchinson, who in turn offloaded to Mike Haywood with eventually Tom James going over.

Smith's conversion made it a one-point game again but a second from Lespiaucq-Brettes and further tries from Gregory Alldritt and Ulupano Seuteni ensured La Rochelle completed a 18 point victory with Northampton also hampered by Lukhan Salakaia Loto's red card in the 80th minute for an elbow to the head in the tackle.

Team line up:

Northampton: Furbank, Freeman, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Skosan, F Smith, Braley; E Waller, R Smith, Painter, Salakaia-Loto, Ribbans, Lawes, Hinkley, Ludlam (c).

Reserves: Haywood, Hobbs-Awoyemi, Petch, Coles, Scott-Young, James, Sleightholme, Ramm.

La Rochelle: Dulin, Leyds, Seuteni, Favre, Rhule, Hastoy, Kerr-Barlow; Wardi, Lagrange, Atonio, Sazy, Picquette, Botia, Bourdeau, Alldritt (c).

Reserves: Lespiaucq, Sclavi, Colombe, Lavault, Dillane, Boudehent, Berjon, Thomas.


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table