Leyds sets up La Rochelle's win over Gloucester
MATCH REPORT: La Rochelle proved too strong for Gloucester Rugby in their Champions Cup Round of 16 clash, eventually running out 27-16 winners at Kingsholm.
Earlier in the day, Leinster became the first team to advance to the quarter-finals when they were awarded a walkover against Toulon after a positive coronavirus case in the French team.
La Rochelle’s huge pack controlled much of the game in Gloucester.
The home team defended bravely, but were twice undone by deft offloads that set up tries in the first 22 minutes.
Kevin Gourdon handed off to Dillyn Leyds who swooped over after eight minutes.
Then Levani Botia flipped the ball to Arthur Retiere who slid in at the corner.
Determined defence and the kicking of George Barton kept Gloucester close.
After Ruan Ackermann muscled over for a try, the home team only trailed by two points at the break.
The visitors made their territorial domination tell in the second half as Ihaia West and his replacement Jules Plisson each kicked two penalties while Gloucester only managed one Barton goal in reply.
La Rochelle will host Scarlets or Sale in the quarter-finals. Leinster will play defending champions Exeter or Lyon.
“I’m very happy for the team,” Gourdon told British broadcaster BT.
“We played a great match, it wasn’t easy.
La Rochelle coach, Ronan O’Gara was less satisfied.
“You could see we could play rugby. We were good at times and inaccurate at times,” said the former Ireland flyhalf.
George Skivington, the Gloucester coach, said La Rochelle were “better”.
“The difference in the game is that when La Rochelle created their opportunities they were clinical,” he said.
“I thought our defence was brilliant for 95 percent of the game, but on occasion we weren’t quite quick enough.”
There are three more matches on Saturday, including a meeting of former winners when Munster entertain Toulouse, and three more on Sunday.
Pens: Barton 3
For La Rochelle
Tries: Leyds, Retiere
Pens: West 3, Plisson 2
Yellow card: Lewis Ludlow (Gloucester, 48)
Gloucester: 15 Santiago Carreras, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Barton, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Henry Walker, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Alex Craig, 20 Freddie Clarke, 21 Jack Clement, 22 Charlie Chapman, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.
La Rochelle: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Arthur Retiere, 13 Raymond Rhule, 12 Levani Botia, 11 Jules Favre, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Tawera Kerr Barlow, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Romain Sazy (captain), 3 Arthur Joly, 2 Facundo Bosch, 1 Dany Priso.
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Thomas Lavault, 20 Grégory Alldritt, 21 Thomas Berjon, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Geoffrey Doumayrou.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Paul Dix (England), Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)