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.
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
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.
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
Robbie Henshaw - 7
James Lowe - 6
Johnny Sexton - 6
Jamison Gibson Park - 6
Andrew Porter - 6
Rónan Kelleher - 5
Tadhg Furlong - 6
Ross Molony - 8
James Ryan - 6
Caelan Doris - 6
Josh van der Flier - 7
Jack Conan - 7
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