La Rochelle secure hard-fought win over Glasgow
EURO CUP REPORT: Last season’s Champions Cup finalists La Rochelle fought to a 20-13 win over Glasgow Warriors at Stade Marcel Deflandre in their opening game of the 2021/22 campaign on Sunday.
The Top 14 side were ran close by Glasgow, particularly in the first half, but got into their stride towards the end of the game to record a victory in Pool A.
Glasgow disrupted La Rochelle’s game plan in the first half and found themselves leading through two Ross Thompson penalties.
The Scottish region’s flyhalf then had the chance to extend their lead to nine points on 27 minutes but was off target with his kick on that occasion.
And moments later La Rochelle had their first points on the board as hooker Reda Wardi crossed following a well-formed driving maul.
Ihaia West’s conversion put the hosts ahead and the flyhalf then kicked a penalty in the last minutes of the half to extend their lead.
Glasgow continued to battle after the break and were rewarded for their efforts as Kyle Steyn gathered a cross-field kick and did well to touch down under heavy pressure on 50 minutes, Thompson on hand to convert.
La Rochelle immediately went on the offensive after going behind once again and unleashed a barrage of carries on the Glasgow line.
An infringement by Warriors flank Rory Darge saw him sent to the sin bin and the away side’s resistance eventually gave way on 57 minutes as Eneriko Buliruarua went over in the corner.
West converted and nudged La Rochelle seven points in front with a penalty four minutes later, leaving Glasgow a converted try adrift.
But there would be no comeback for the United Rugby Championship side as La Rochelle found their rhythm and dominated the breakdown over the closing stages, as well as producing some of their best attacking moves of the game.
La Rochelle visit Bath in Round Two on Saturday while Glasgow host 2020 Champions Cup winners Exeter Chiefs.
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Wardi, Buliruarua
Cons: West 2
Pens: West 2
Pens: Thompson 2
Yellow card: Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors, 54)
La Rochelle: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Jules Favre, 13 Jérémy Sinzelle, 12 Levani Botia, 11 Arthur Retiere, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Grégory Alldritt (captain), 7 Victor Vito, 6 Paul Boudehent, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Romain Sazy, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Reda Wardi.
Replacements: 16 Guillaume Lagahe, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Thomas Lavault, 20 Remi Bourdeau, 21 Pierre Popelin, 22 Eneriko Buliruarua, 23 Jonathan Danty.
Glasgow: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Sione Tuipulotu, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Rufus McLean, 10 Ross Thompson, 9 Ali Price (captain), 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Lewis Bean, 20 Rob Harley, 21 Ally Miller, 22 George Horne, 23 Duncan Weir.
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Tom Foley (England), Gareth Holsgrove (England)
TMO: Ian Tempest (England)