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Leinster shred La Rochelle in Dublin to secure semi-final spot

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Saturday Apr 13, 2024

Irish powerhouse Leinster Rugby put to bed any thoughts that they could not beat La Rochelle when it mattered as they secured a 40 – 13 win at the Aviva Stadium.

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Squeezing their visitors from the off, any time La Rochelle threatened to get back into the fixture, their hosts shut it down.

Utilising Jacques Nienaber’s much-heralded blitz defence, Leinster chopped down the powerful La Rochelle ball carriers behind the gain line.

In attack, Leinster had several of their trademark strike plays, with the halfback pairing of Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne pulling the strings masterfully.

Scoring their first try inside seven minutes through winger James Lowe, who scored two on the day, Leinster found plenty of space on the fringes of the La Rochelle defence.

As the match wore on, La Rochelle looked to be feeling the effects of having to travel to South Africa for their last sixteen clash with the DHL Stormers a week earlier.

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Exposing these heavy legs, Leinster continued to punish their visitors with long kicks and an aggressive chase, which routinely put the La Rochelle sweepers under immense pressure.

This pressure would lead to a handful of penalties and scrums, which was the key component in Leinster’s ability to keep their visitors at arm’s length.

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Next up for Leinster is a home semi-final at the historic GAA stadium Croke Park against either the Vodacom Bulls or Northampton Saints, who play later this evening.

For the defending champions a tough season continues and they will now throw all of their efforts into chasing a Top 14 title.

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