La Rochelle overthrows Leinster and finally climbs to the roof of Europe

La Rochelle overthrows Leinster and finally climbs to the roof of Europe

Published on : 28/05/2022 – 20:21

Stade Rochelais is European champion for the first time in its history. Opposed to Leinster in the final, Saturday May 28 at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, the Maritimes snatched victory in the last moments (24-21). Beaten in the final last year, La Rochelle succeeds Stade Toulouse.

The European Rugby Cup, also called the Champions Cup, remains in France. And La Rochelle, tamed by Toulouse last year at Twickenham, finally lays his hands on the coveted Grail. After a suspenseful final in Marseille, the Maritimes snatched victory in the last seconds against Barley Leinster.

The Irish, four-time winners of the European Cup, were aiming for a fifth crown, which would have allowed them to equal the Toulouse Stadium record. And for a while, Leo Cullen’s men believed in this coronation which has eluded them since their last title in 2018. Thanks to the always impeccable Jonatan Sexton at the opening in particular (six penalties alone), Leinster took the best at the Stade Rochelais. At the break, the score was 12-7 in favor of the Irish.

“No one believed in us, but we knew where we were going”

If the visitors were able to count on this game on foot, the Rochelais, them, caught up with them thanks above all to tests. South African Raymond Rhule scored first (11th), then Frenchman Pierre Bourgarit flattened behind the line on the hour mark (61st), reviving his team which was then only trailing 18-17. But a new penalty, this time passed by Ross Byrne, gave a slight lead to Leinster (64th).

In an overheated Stade Vélodrome, La Rochelle had its destiny in its hands: with this score of 21-17, a simple unconverted try was enough to afford the European Cup. The players coached by Irish legend Ronan O’Gara then camped in the last five meters of Leinster, facing a fierce defense. And after many blows, the French Arthur Retière found the opening to reach out and flatten just on the line, making his camp explode with joy (78th). To finish in style, New Zealander Ihaia West converted the try and added two extra points. The final whistle could then sound in a crazy atmosphere (24-21).

Stade La Rochelais, still in Pro D2 eight years ago, can savor its evolution. The bitter taste of defeat in the final last year gives way to the much more delicious taste of victory. ” It’s huge, we had decided, we did it. No one believed in us, but we knew where we were going “, entrusted the third line Grégory Alldritt to the microphone of France 2. “ The club has been waiting for a title for a while. We weren’t favourites, but in terms of our state of mind, it ended up paying off. It puts La Rochelle on the map of Europe, it’s huge, it’s our first trophy added scrum-half Thomas Berjon.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *