Ronan O'Gara wrecks Leinster's European Cup dreams in Marseille 2 months ago

Ronan O'Gara wrecks Leinster's European Cup dreams in Marseille

LA ROCHELLE 24-21 LEINSTER

Ronan O'Gara is champion of Europe for the third time in his career, and the first as a head coach.

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Leinster looked like they had dome enough to secure a fifth star, but they flagged badly in the second half and La Rochelle were deserved winners.

The first half saw Leinster at their flatest in a long time. La Rochelle brought the fight, but Leinster had the cup nous. They conceded a try but led 12-10 at the break.

Leinster can't hold on

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The start of the second half saw Leinster put the boot down, in front of a crowd of 59,682, and they added two penalties two their half-time lead.

La Rochelle came roaring back, though, and Pierre Bourgarit scored after a sustained period of pressure for the French sides. They then, after slow-mo replays, copped a yellow card and Leinster went 21-17 ahead with 15 minutes to play.

Thomas Lavault's needless yellow card mad it Leinster's advantage for the final stretch, but a Ross Byrne knock-on, with 13 to go, gave Ronan O'Gara's side a sniff.

The last 10 minutes was all La Rochelle and their endeavours were rewarded with a late, converted Arthur Retiere try that clinched the match.

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Ronan O'Gara had more than enough heartbreaks in Europe, over the years, with Munster, Racing and La Rochelle. Tonight, in Marseille, he is a deserved winner. Again.

Hugo Keenan - 6

Jimmy O'Brien - 6

Garry Ringrose - 5

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Robbie Henshaw - 7

James Lowe - 6

Johnny Sexton - 6

Jamison Gibson Park - 6

Andrew Porter - 6

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Rónan Kelleher - 5

Tadhg Furlong - 6

Ross Molony - 8

James Ryan - 6

Caelan Doris - 6

Josh van der Flier - 7

Jack Conan - 7

REPLACEMENTS

Dan Sheehan (for Kelleher '14) - 7

Ross Byrne (for Sexton '63) - 5

Michael Alla'atoa (for Furlong '63) - 6

Cian Healy (for Porter '63) - 6

Rhys Ruddock (for Molony '65) - 5

Joe McCarthy (Ross Molony '76) - 6