La Rochelle 47-28 Exeter Chiefs: Ronan O’Gara’s title-holders present aspect coming to the tip of an period no mercy as they arrange a repeat of final yr’s remaining following Leinster’s victory over Toulouse
- Exeter Chiefs’ history-making aspect is being damaged up on the finish of the season
- Quite a few gamers are heading to France with the fantastic period set to finish
- They put in a gallant efficiency however have been ultimately outclassed in France
Exeter’s golden period got here to an abrupt halt as La Rochelle turned the lights out on one other English workforce within the Champions Cup, to arrange a repeat of final yr’s remaining.
Ronan O’Gara’s title-holders did to the Devonians precisely what that they had accomplished to the opposite Premiership sides who’ve crossed their path this season, by remorselessly pounding them into submission.
The Chiefs had hoped for one final hurrah earlier than the break-up of their history-making squad. As a substitute they have been subjected to a savage ordeal, although a defiant late flurry of tries allowed them to a minimum of exit on their shields.
La Rochelle now have 4 English scalps on this marketing campaign. They beat Northampton by an combination of 77-25 in two pool-stage mis-matches, then snuck previous Gloucester 29-26 within the spherical of 16. Subsequent, they dispatched Saracens 24-10 within the final eight, earlier than this emphatic dismantling of Rob Baxter’s gallant however outclassed Exeter.
Jack Nowell is becoming a member of Les Rochelais in the summertime, Sam Simmonds is off to Montpellier and Luke Cowan-Dickie is meant to be going there too, though the deal is beneath risk.
La Rochelle confirmed Exeter Chiefs no mercy as they arrange a repeat of final yr’s remaining
Ronan O’Gara’s aspect eviscerated Exeter’s soon-to-be-broken-up aspect with sensible show
Ronan O’Gara will likely be seeking to declare his second Champions Cup crown after final season’s triumph
Joe Simmonds is shifting to Pau and Dave Ewers is certain for Ulster. So many acquainted figures are leaving in a single go. No marvel it was a poignant second as they took inventory after this seven-try beating.
‘I mentioned to the lads within the altering room, there’s two tales on the minute,’ mentioned Baxter. ‘There’s the unbelievable group of gamers who’ve had unbelievable success collectively and have been a part of probably the most profitable interval within the membership’s historical past. If there was ever a spot to exit, I don’t suppose that is the worst place. It was an unbelievable ambiance.
‘It was a bit emotional, however the guys are additionally very life like about it. They’ve recognized that is coming for a time frame and I feel they’ve come to phrases with it. The blokes are dissatisfied with the way in which the sport bought away from us, however on the similar time the story is there’s a brand new chapter for some younger gamers who have been there immediately and may have gained an terrible lot from an unbelievable day.’
Exeter gamers have been left to rue what may need been – and compelled to hark again to earlier reminiscences of glory
The victors will go on to their third consecutive remaining, the place they’ll face Leinster in Dublin, having overwhelmed the Irish province 24-21 in final yr’s thunderous showpiece in Marseille.
They are going to be in hostile territory this time, however O’Gara may have very important perception into what awaits and the French membership will take hordes of followers with them. There have been 40,000 of them at Stade Matmut Atlantique on Sunday and so they created a sensational ambiance. It was a fervent outpouring of civic satisfaction, with flares lit outdoors the stadium earlier than the sport, then a sea of yellow flags and a cacophony within the stands. What a spectacle.
Frankly, most worldwide matches don’t produce something prefer it. La Rochelle followers present an ideal antidote to all of the doom and gloom within the sport. It feels alive and properly when they’re round.
La Rochelle are among the many greatest sides in Europe and did to Exeter what that they had accomplished to each Premiership workforce they’ve confronted this season
Director of rugby Rob Baxter mentioned that the gamers have been unhappy concerning the scenario – however life like that they knew this was coming
Whereas Simmonds’ early attempt was reward for Exeter’s power and aggression within the opening exchanges, the writing was quickly on the wall as La Rochelle’s formidable energy advised.
France No 8 Gregory Alldritt was masterful, scoring a attempt to performing because the glue which held his aspect collectively. At any time when there was a large number to scrub up or an assault to maintain alive, there he was.
He was not the one class act. Centres Jules Favre and UJ Seuteni each wrought havoc with their carrying energy and dealing with, as did Will Skelton and the spectacular front-rowers, hooker Pierre Bourgarit and Reda Wardi.
Leinster will likely be favourites of their dwelling metropolis on Could 20, however La Rochelle will bother them. Such a outstanding assortment of monstrous specimens will take some stopping.