Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle picked up the first Heineken Champions Cup title in their history. The team won the game in the final minute. A dramatic final-minute try by Arthur Retiere helped the team secure their position in the match. La Rochelle won the first European Cup triumph, as the team fought back to beat the favorites Leinster 24-21 in Marseille.
La Rochelle Scored To Reduce The Deficit
La Rochelle scored three tries during the match. In the sweltering heat of the Stade Velodrome, the game was a pretty tough one for the players. Raymond Rhule, hooker Pierre Bourgarit and replacement scrum-half Retiere played well and took their team to the heights of success in the first half of the match. Leinster scored all their points through penalties.
Johnny Sexton kicked six penalties but limped off in the second half. Ross Byrne added another penalty which made the four-time winners distinctly flat on the biggest of occasions.
Despite a sub-par showing, Leinster was eight points ahead. They were heading into the final quarter. La Rochelle found themselves on the wrong side and showed a negative effect on the referee Wayne Barnes.
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La Rochelle scored to reduce the deficit point of the team to a single point. Thomas Lavault won the sin-binned and made a needless trip on Jamison Gibson-Park when there were just 14 minutes left.
Leinster Made A Promising Start
Enormous favorites heading into the game. Leinster contained 13 of Ireland’s Triple Crown winners and managed to make a promising start. Their first maul roared forward and they managed to get an ominous dominance.
They made an opening attack when the quelled La Rochelle skipper Gregory Alldritt did marvelously to turn the game around. Still, Leinster came again and hit the lead as early as the fifth minute. This is when Sexton punished a La Rochelle and suffered from the breakdown penalty when he made a calm strike for 3-0.
Leinster Lost Hooker Ronan Kelleher
Leinster lost hooker Ronan Kelleher as he was injured during the game. La Rochelle supporters were astonished as the stirring rendition of La Marseillaise and Leinster No 8 Caelan Doris were knocked out.
Leinster saw them achieve parity at mauled forward for another penalty. The second lineout was botched and was fortunate enough as La Rochelle was penalized. They blocked the game and were trying to exit, to regain the lead at 9-7.
Keenan put a foot in touch under a long Dulin kick and was outside the Leinster 22 after sending La Rochelle fans wild. This insured that the attack was halted when the flanker Josh van der Flier was named European Player of the Year. He ripped his possession back at the maul. Sexton had departed with a leg injury when a disaster appeared to strike for La Rochelle.