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O'Gara's La Rochelle jump up to fourth in the Top 14 heading into 2022

Forwards coach Donnacha Ryan will have been happy with their 25-3 win over Lyon last night.

La Rochelle boss Ronan O'Gara.
La Rochelle boss Ronan O'Gara.
Image: Dave Winter/INPHO

RONAN O’GARA’S LA Rochelle thumped Lyon 25-3 in dreadful, driving rain to climb to fourth in the Top 14 table heading into 2022.

Back row Gregory Alldritt scored a try in a man-of-the-match performance as La Rochelle notched their sixth straight home win in battling fashion.

While La Rochelle endured a tough start to this season, O’Gara and co. have firmly turned their form around and can head into the New Year in confident fashion. 

On a pleasing night for La Rochelle forwards coach Donnacha Ryan, who joined the club last summer after retiring from playing, all three of the tries came from the forward pack as Alldritt, replacement lock Thomas Lavault, and sub prop Ramiro Herrara dotted down.

Before the game, back row Kevin Gourdon, who has been forced to retire at the age of 31 due to a heart problem, bid an emotional farewell to the La Rochelle fans.

Meanwhile, Montpellier maintained their Top 14 charge with a 27-12 bonus-point win away to rock-bottom Biarritz, whose team included former Munster men James Cronin and Dave O’Callaghan.

The home side scored four first-half penalties through Brett Herron, but went in 12-13 down at the break after a try from Handre Pollard.

Vincent Rattez and Masivesi Dakuwaqa then sealed victory in the final 15 minutes despite Bastien Chalureau being sent off on the hour, earning the bonus point that saw Philippe Saint-André’s men join Toulouse on level second in the table.

Bordeaux still lead the Top 14 on 42 points with Toulouse and Montpellier two points back, although Montpellier have played one match more.

“We got two lovely tries when we were a man down, but none of that was easy,” Saint-André said. “I’m proud we picked up the bonus, it doesn’t often happen at Biarritz.”

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Biarritz boss Shaun Sowerby said he was deeply disappointed.

“We did everything except score in that second half, we really pushed them, but in the end they had the quality.

Elsewhere, Castres edged Perpignan 20-19 away on Sunday while Toulouse v Stade Francais, Toulon v Bordeaux-Begles, Brive v Clermont and Racing 92 v Pau were all postponed due to Covid.

© – AFP, 2021

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