La Rochelle overpower Gloucester in Champions Cup

Gloucester (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


La Rochelle dominated Gloucester on Friday to win their European Cup round-of-16 match 27-16 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 tonight we could play rugby. We were good at times and inaccurate at times," said the former Ireland fly half.

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 per cent 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.