La Rochelle eases past Bath
EUROPEAN CUP REPORT: Lock Rémi Picquette scored a try brace as Stade Rochelais cruised to a 39-21 win over Bath on Saturday.
Last season’s finalists were in control for much of the Pool A encounter at a foggy Stade Marcel Deflandre, with Picquette going over in either half as the hosts ran in five tries.
A pair of Pierre Popelin penalties put La Rochelle ahead early on, before Bath’s defence was breached for the first time in 17 minutes when centre Jonathan Danty went over after good work from winger Raymond Rhule.
Picquette notched his first score six minutes later – a TMO review was needed to check the grounding after the home pack bundled over the line.
Popelin, who tallied 14 points over the course of the game, converted both first-half scores to send La Rochelle into the break 20-0 up.
Bath had survived for the second part of the first half but their resistance was broken again on 43 minutes when Picquette crossed for his second with flanker Tom Ellis in the sin bin.
Wing Dillyn Leyds was next to get in on the try-scoring act for La Rochelle, bursting down the wing after a well-worked line-out.
Brilliant work from full-back Brice Dulin then set up Rhule to go over for the hosts’ fifth score on 55 minutes.
A flurry of Bath tries followed, however, with Johannes Jonker, Joe Simpson and Ruaridh McConnochie crossing in a sensational seven-minute blitz from the visitors.
There was no miracle comeback for Bath, though, with La Rochelle holding on to claim an important bonus point victory.
La Rochelle travels to Glasgow Warriors in Round 4 next weekend while Bath welcome Leinster Rugby to The Recreation Ground.
For La Rochelle
Tries: Danty, Picquette 2, Leyds, Rhule
Cons: Popelin 4
Pens: Popelin 2
Tries: Jonker, Simpson, McConnochie
Cons: Spencer 3
La Rochelle: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jérémy Sinzelle, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Pierre Popelin, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Grégory Alldritt (captain), 7 Rémi Bourdeau, 6 Paul Boudehent, 5 Rémi Picquette, 4 Romain Sazy, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Dany Priso
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Léo Aouf, 18 Guram Papidze, 19 Thomas Lavault, 20 Mathieu Tanguy, 21 Jules Lebail, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Pierre Boudehent
Bath: 15 Ruaridh McConnochie, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Clark, 11 Will Muir, 10 Cameron Redpath, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Josh Bayliss, 7 Ewan Richards, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 4 Josh McNally, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 2 Tom Doughty, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Valery Morozov, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Mike Williams, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Will Butt, 23 Gabe Hamer-Webb
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Elgan Williams (Wales), Rhys Jones (Wales)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)