Top 14: La Rochelle dominates Lyon and glues back in the lead

Performing these last two weekends in the Champions Cup, La Rochelle won in front of Lyon (38-23), Saturday evening on the 21st day of Top 14.

The reunion with the Top 14 went well for La Rochelle, convincing winner of the LOU on the evening of Saturday (38-23). The Maritimes could have taken control of the championship alone, but three late Lyon tests, including a brace from Lyon winger Josua Tuisova, deprived them of the offensive bonus point. The fact remains that this success, counting for the 21st day, allows them to come back up to Toulouse at the top of the standings.

Despite a logical turnover to blow some protagonists who brought them against the English of Gloucester and then Sale, the Maritimes were effective and solid for an hour, to the point of leading 33-6, before suffering a stroke of fatigue and a comeback of the LOU who registered his three tries in a quarter of an hour. Two weeks away from finding the Irishmen of Leinster in the semi-final of the European Cup, confidence remains nevertheless very present in their ranks.

Tuisova for honor

The LOU, back in the nails of the qualification after its three recent successes against Toulouse, Bayonne and Toulon, has long struggled to find the key to the Rochelle lock. Like these three penalty kicks around half an hour leading to … a yellow card for Dany Priso (33rd), but nothing in terms of the score. Quite the opposite of their hosts, who started off on their heels with a test marked entry by Dyllin Leyds (3rd), the quickest to recover a kick to be followed by Brice Dulin, and above all very clinical during their inferiority digital with a 10-0 signed Ihaia West (penalty then converted try) to bring the score to 20-6 at the break.

This second try had the knack of knocking out the men of Pierre Mignoni, who did not return to recovery by conceding a third try very similar to the first: a deep kick from Dulin for Leyds who volleyed superbly inwards for Geoffrey Doumayrou launched full iron (45th). Uncompromising in defense, efficient in the occupation and allowing nothing to pass in the finish, like this drop succeeded by Doumayrou (50th), Jono Gibbes’ players nevertheless relaxed the embrace, which allowed the ‘entering Josua Tuisova to reduce the mark (63rd).

In an attempt to recover the offensive bonus, the Rochelais threw their last strength into the battle using their bench – winning off-load from Will Skelton for Kevin Gourdon (67th). But they cracked twice with Tuisova again at the finish (70th), then Pierre-Louis Barassi, best evening Rhone (77th) and author of a test surely reviving regrets.

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