La Rochelle reach their first Top 14 final in their 123-year history

La Rochelle reach their first Top 14 final in their 123-year history

La Rochelle end their wait for a Top 14 final beating Racing 92 19-6 in the semi-final at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre on Friday.

Winger Arthur Retiere scored the only try of the game as Jono Gibbes and Ronan O'Gara's charges reached their first Top 14 final in their 123-year history.


An arm-wrestle of a game saw Ihaia West and Maxime Machenaud trade penalties from the tee with West edging the battle with three penalties to two after 27 minutes.

However, the match swung in La Rochelle's favour in the 28th minute as Finn Russell misfired a kick into his own teammate, Dominic Bird, gifting a scrum to La Rochelle in Racing 92's half.

A big shove from La Rochelle saw the scrum go down but the referee allowed play to continue and La Rochelle spun the ball wide to fullback Brice Dulin. The French fullback put in a delicate chip over the top of the on-rushing Racing 92 defense and Retiere was quickest to react and complete the chance with three defenders closing in on him.



West added the extras from the tee as La Rochelle went 10 points up into the break. 


Racing 92 came flying out the block in the second half but could never quite break through the La Rochelle defense and while La Rochelle did have their chances in the second half, it was marred by the pouring rain.

Ihaia West added a further three points from the tee to push La Rochelle into a 13 point lead but failed from his second attempt in the second half before he was replaced by Jules Plisson.

Racing 92 continued to throw everything they had at La Rochelle but in the end it wasn't enough as the host held on to create a bit of history by making their first ever Top 14 Final.

The clash marked the end of Donnacha Ryan's playing career as he moves into coaching next season while Simon Zebo has played his final game before returning to Munster next season.




As for La Rochelle, they will face the winner of the second Top 14 semi-final between Toulouse and Bordeaux next weekend. 

 
 
 
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