La Rochelle grind out away win
EUROPEAN CUP MATCH REPORT: La Rochelle kicked off their Champions Cup campaign with a gritty 13-8 win over Edinburgh at Murrayfield.
The French side edged the try count with Raymond Rhule and Jeremy Sinzelle crossing for the visitors, whilst only Blair Kinghorn could score for the hosts.
La Rochelle took an early lead through Jules Plisson who nailed a penalty kick from the halfway line, drilling his kick over with a low trajectory.
They then extended the lead after an attacking scrum which didn’t initially yield a try but they could move it through the hands towards the left touchline, finding Raymond Rhule who stepped inside and dived over the try line.
Edinburgh would get on the board just before the break after an infringement at the line-out from La Rochelle, allowing the Scottish side to add three through Jaco van der Walt.
The French side also had the chance to extend the lead, but Plisson nudged his long-range effort wide.
The crucial second try also went to La Rochelle, as Edinburgh allowed the high ball to bounce towards their own line, before being stabbed forward and collected by Jeremy Sinzelle who swivelled and dived over the line.
Edinburgh moved back within one score on 53 minutes when a cute grubber kick from Chris Dean with penalty advantage ricocheted around before finding Kinghorn who was able to dot down.
Ihaia West missed an attempt to make it a two-score game, and although Edinburgh had some late opportunities, they could not capitalise and the French side clung on for a big away win.
La Rochelle will host Bath in Round 2, with Edinburgh taking on Sale Sharks.
Pen: Van der Walt
For La Rochelle
Tries: Rhule, Sinzelle
Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Andrew Davidson, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Nathan Chamberlain, 23 James Johnstone.
La Rochelle: 15 Jérémy Sinzelle, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Levani Botia, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Tawera Kerr Barlow, 8 Grégory Alldritt (captain), 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Thomas Lavault, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Reda Wardi,.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Léo Aouf, 18 Arthur Joly, 19 Mathieu Tanguy, 20 Remi Bourdeau, 21 Thomas Berjon, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Martin Alonso Munoz.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Hollie Davidson (Scotland)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)