Champions League: Leinster 26-27 La Rochelle – -News

La Rochelle trailed 17-0 at Leinster after 12 minutes
Leinster (23) 26
try: Sheehan 2, O’Brien shortcoming: Byrne Pen: Bourne 3
La Rochelle (14) 27
try: Danty, Seuteni, Colombe shortcoming: I am 3 years old Pen: i am 2

La Rochelle kept the Champions League by breaking Leinster’s heart for the second year running in a thrilling final in Dublin.

Province of Ireland took a 17-0 lead after scoring from three attempts in 12 minutes.

But La Rochelle staged a brilliant counter-attack, capped by Georges-Henri Colombe’s last attempt.

It was La Rochelle’s second title and prevented Leinster’s record fifth win.

There were ecstatic scenes at the final whistle for the men in yellow as they pulled off the biggest comeback in Champions League final history.

It was a classic final, with the Aviva Stadium packed from the first minute when Leinster scored.

However, after building a huge lead, Ireland faded and left behind a familiar pain after losing last year’s decider to a side coached by former Münster half-time Ronan O’Gara feel.

The defeat means Leinster have lost three finals since winning the title for the fourth time in 2018 – they also lost to the Saracens in 2019.

It capped a disappointing climax to their season following last week’s Rugby Union Championship semi-final loss to rivals Munster.

By contrast, La Rochelle have re-established their status as the leaders of European club rugby under O’Gara, who has now won four Champions Leagues as player and coach.

Leinster let tour begin

Perhaps driven by a thirst for revenge, Leinster made a stunning start as they scored the fastest goal in the history of a Champions League final.

Dan Sheehan found a gap in La Rochelle’s defense and lobbed a short ball to a charging Jack Conan, who sprinted into the open space before laying in a cross for the Hookers 41 seconds later.

With the Aviva Stadium wobbling, Jamison Gibson-Parker and Ross Byrne combined to sweep the ball quickly over the touchline to allow Jimmy O’Brien to extend their lead and Leinster soon touched down a second time.

La Rochelle’s sense of crisis deepened and after Tawera Kerr-Barlow was sent off for blocking a free throw by opposing number Gibson-Park, Sheehan scored his first after being caught with another search pass from the scrum-half. Two and a third for Leinster.

They faced a tall order in front of a raucous crowd in Dublin but La Rochelle calmed down and narrowed the gap when Jonathan Danty burst through a sea of ​​blue shirts to give the defending champions a lifeline Points difference.

Bourne made both free throws to extend Leinster’s advantage to 23-7, while Urupano Setney was unguarded after a perfect pass from Antoine Hastoy , closing in on a surging La Rochelle before the break.

La Rochelle strikes back with fringe classic

Rose Byrne at the final whistle
Leinster half-time Rosebone looked frustrated at the end of the game after his side went 17-0 up

Determined to pick up where they left off, La Rochelle set the pace for the second half when Seuteni broke through the heart of the Leinster defence, leading to offside and another Hastoy penalty.

La Rochelle put pressure on the Leinster defense after Hastoy and Byrne exchanged penalties before taking the lead for the first time when Colombe knocked down, while the Irish side’s misery was compounded by Ronan Kelleher’s yellow card.

They were without their captain James Lane, who failed assessments with a head injury, but Leinster tipped forward in search of a game-winning score.

Their hopes were dashed, however, when substitute Michael Alatoya was sent off for a dangerous clearance in the closing seconds, allowing Hastoy to kill the ball and seal another painful final for Leinster.

Leinster: H Keenan; J O’Brien G Ringrose R Henshaw J Lowe; R Byrne J Gibson Park A Porter, D Sheehan, T Furlong; R Molony, J Ryan (Capt); C Doris, J Van der Friel, J Conan.

replace: R Kelleher, C Healy, M Ala’alatoa, J Jenkins, R Baird, L McGrath, C Frawley, C Ngatai.

La Rochelle: B Dooling; D Leyds UJ Seuteni J Danty R Rhule; A Hastoy, T Kerbalo; Ward R, Burgarit P, Artonio U; R Sazi W Skelton P Boudehent, L Botia, G Alldritt (Captain).

replace: Q Lespiaucq-Brettes, J Sclavi, G Henry Colombe, T Lavault, R Bourdeau, U Dillane, T Berjon, J Favre.

referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU)

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