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Stade Rochelais routs toothless Tigers

MATCH REPORT: Two-time defending Investec Champions Cup winners Stade Rochelais showcased their title credentials with a 45-12 mauling of Leicester Tigers in Sunday’s Pool Four meeting at the Stade Marcel Deflandre.

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Wing Teddy Thomas and outside centre UJ Seuteni contributed a brace apiece.

Hooker Pierre Bourgarit, flank Will Skelton and replacement front row Joel Sclavi also etched their names on the scoresheet in the bonus point victory – flyhalf Antoine Hastoy converting five tries for a tally of 10 points.

A first-half try from Leicester Tigers’ lock George Martin and a late consolation from outside centre Dan Kelly – the former converted by flyhalf Jamie Shillcock – was all the Premiership side could muster in the harrowing defeat.

The hosts opened the scoring in the sixth minute thanks to a powerful rolling maul finished off by hooker Bourgarit down the left flank – Hastoy successful with the first of three conversions in the opening period.

On the half-hour mark, the Top 14 club again made excellent use of a line-out inside the Leicester Tigers’ 22 to convert for a second try. This time flank Skelton gathered from the back of the maul in a well-worked set piece before rumbling over the whitewash.

Three minutes before the break the visitors were afforded a lifeline as lock Martin charged through two would be tacklers to dot down from close range

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However, there was still time in the half for the hosts to mount their offensive, outside centre Seuteni brushing off the tackle of Shillcock to earn Stade Rochelais their third try of the contest.

Champions Cup Pool Four standings after three rounds

Thomas secured the bonus point try five minutes into the second half. A midfield scrum was quickly switched to the right flank where the wing walked in unabated as the two-time defending champions flexed their muscles.

The visitors, however, were handed a further boost 10 minutes into the second period as Skelton was sent to the sin-bin following a series of penalties close to the Stade Rochelais tryline. A minute later Jonathan Danty was also given a yellow card for a high tackle – the Top 14 club reduced to 13 men for eight minutes.

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Even with the two-man disadvantage, Stade Rochelais turned around field position before scoring a shorthanded try through replacement front row Sclavi on the hour mark.

Thomas then completed his brace with a sensational length-of-the-field try. The wing gathered the ball inside his own 22 before slaloming his way through Leicester Tigers’ backfield for a sublime score.

There was still time for Seuteni to complete a brace of his own, the centre crossing over with just seven minutes remaining in the contest. In the dying seconds, Leicester Tigers’ Kelly added a late consolation try for the visitors who fell to their first defeat of the competition.

Stade Rochelais travel to face Sale Sharks in Round 4 of the Pool Stage next Sunday with the winner assured of a place in the Round of 16, while Leicester Tigers host perennial powerhouse Leinster at Welfare Road on Saturday.

The scorers

For Stade Rochelais
Tries: Bourgarit, Skelton, Seuteni 2, Thomas 2, Sclavi
Cons: Hastoy 5

For Leicester Tigers
Tries: Martin, Kelly
Con: Shillcock

Yellow cards: Ultan Dillane (Stade Rochelais, 12), Will Skelton (Stade Rochelais, 50), Jonathan Danty (Stade Rochelais, 51)

Teams:

Stade Rochelais: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 UJ Seuteni, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Antoine Hastoy, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Grégory Alldritt (captain), 7 Levani Botia, 6 Paul Boudehent, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Reda Wardi.
Replacements: 16 Quentin Lespiaucq, 17 Joel Sclavi, 18 Aleksandre Kuntelia, 19 Remi Picquette, 20 Judicael Cancoriet, 21 Yoan Tanga, 22 Thomas Berjon, 23 Hugo Reus

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Dan Kelly, 12 Solomone Kata, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jamie Shillcock, 9 Ben Youngs, 8. Kyle Hatherell, 7. Olly Cracknell, 6. Matt Rogerson, 5. Ollie Chessum, 4. George Martin,3. Dan Cole, 2. Julian Montoya (captain), 1. James Cronin.
Replacements: 16 Finn Theobald-Thomas, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Matt Scott

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Keane Davison (Ireland) & Padraig Reidy (Ireland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

Source: @ChampionsCup

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