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Scarlets book Champions Cup semi-final date against either Leinster or Saracens

Tries from Rhys Patchell and Scott Williams tilted a finely-balanced game in favour of the hosts.

Halfpenny and Scott Williams celebrate with try scorer Patchell.
Halfpenny and Scott Williams celebrate with try scorer Patchell.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Scarlets 29-17 La Rochelle

SCARLETS OUTFOUGHT LA Rochelle to book their first European Cup semi-final since 2007 and set up a showdown against either Leinster or Saracens in the final four.

Tries from Rhys Patchell and Scott Williams in the final quarter tilted a finely-balanced game at Parc y Scarlets in favour of the hosts.

Charles Bouldoire ran in a consolation try for La Rochelle with the clock in the red but it wasn’t enough to keep their debut European adventure alive.

After falling behind to an early Leigh Halfpenny penalty, the French side took the lead in the ninth minute when Romain Sazy pounced on a loose ball in the in-goal area.

Replays suggested that the skipper may have knocked the ball on before grounding it, but TMO David Grashoff ruled that there was no infringement and the try should stand.

Alexi Bales’ conversion left La Rochelle 7-3 to the good but Scarlets ruthlessly punished the French side’s indiscipline as four more Halfpenny penalties had them 15-10 up by the 45th minute.

The reigning Pro14 champions then held firm in the face of sustained pressure deep inside their own 22, keeping La Rochelle at bay, before finally forcing their decisive breakthrough with tries from Patchell and Williams.

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Niall Kelly

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