La Rochelle stun Harlequins in London
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Debutants La Rochelle turned on the French flair and produced a phenomenal 34-27 win over Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.
The visitors opened their European Champions Cup campaign in fine style with a bonus point win in London.
This was La Rochelle first match in the Champions Cup and they outscored the Harlequins four tries to three.
The seven tries were scored by La Rochelle's Hikairo Forbes, Dany Prison and a brace of tries by Geoffrey Dumayrou while, Charlie Matthews, Joe Marchant and Will Collier got their names on the score sheets for the hosts.
La Rochelle stunned the Stoop fans into silence after just three minutes of play with a stunning try, courtesy of Forbes. Ryan Lamb added the extras for the early 7-0 lead.
The match was intense as just 26 minutes of play saw the visitors led 17-10.
First Matthew scored a converted try which was followed by penalties exchanged between Lamb and his opposition flyhalf Marcus Smith, to make it 10-10.
Minutes later Matthews' score was cancelled out by La Rochelle's second try, thanks to great work by captain Jason Eaton and centre Dumayrou, who scored the visitors try.
Soon Priso powered over the chalk after the home side knocked on at a lineout in their own 22.
Harlequins produced a brave attack, as Mike Brown's line break got Marchant over the line for the five-pointer. Smith added the extras and the hosts had to settle for a 17-24 deficit at the break.
Five minutes into the second spell Doumayrou completed his brace following a Lamb dummy and break. Lamb converted, and added a penalty five minutes later as Quins faced a 17 point deficit.
For the remainder of the encounter, Harlequins attacked the La Rochelle line but a resolute French defence would turn them around time and time again. However, just after the hour mark Will Collier scored his first try for the club and it was game on.
Brown twice went close in the closing stages, as did a number of the forward pack led by captain James Horwill, but they couldn’t get their fourth try of the evening.
Finally, with the clock winding down, Quins were awarded a penalty and they decided to take the points to close the gap to seven. Marcus Smith’s 79th-minute kick securing a losing bonus point
Tries: Matthews, Marchant, Collier
Cons: Smith 3
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Forbes, Dumayrou 2, Priso
Cons: Lamb 4
Pens: Lamb 2
Yellow Card: Gourdon (La Rochelle)
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Ben Glynn, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 George Merrick, 20 Archie White, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Francis Saili
La Rochelle: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Vincent Rattez, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Jérémy Sinzelle, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Alexis Bales, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Zeno Kieft, 6 Kevin Gourdon, 5 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Hikairo Forbes, 1 Dany Priso
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Mike Corbel, 18 Vincent Pelo, 19 Gregory Lamboley, 20 Afa Amosa, 21 Jean-Victor Goillot, 22 Pierre Aguillon, 23 Gabriel Lacroix
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Andrea Piardi, Simone Boaretto (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Pennè