Exeter hope to end Stade Rochelais’ title defence

Exeter hope to end Stade Rochelais’ title defence

Exeter Chiefs will need to overcome reigning champions Stade Rochelais in Bordeaux on Sunday if they are to reach the Heineken Champions Cup final for a second time.

The semi-final between 2020 champions Exeter and current holders La Rochelle at the Matmut ATLANTIQUE is a first meeting between the sides.

Exeter have struggled for form in the Gallagher Premiership this season but have found their rhythm in the Heineken Champions Cup, winning three from four in Pool A before defeating Montpellier Hérault Rugby and DHL Stormers in the knockout stage.

Meanwhile, La Rochelle have enjoyed an imperious Heineken Champions Cup campaign as they seek back-to-back titles, topping Pool B with four wins before seeing off Gloucester Rugby in the Round of 16 and Saracens in the quarter-finals.

The game kicks off at 15:00 (UK & Irish time) and is available to watch on France TV, BT Sport, beIN SPORTS, SuperSport and FloRugby.

Key quotes

Stade Rochelais head coach Ronan O’Gara: “There is more energy than usual. We have a lot of players available and we can’t wait until Sunday. The atmosphere in the room reminded me of the one I felt in my time at Munster.”

Exeter Chiefs centre Henry Slade: “We have spoken about how it’s been such a long time [that] we’ve been together and it’s now coming to an end. It’s definitely given us massive motivation to send them out on a high and give them a special end to their times here.”

Key facts

  • Antoine Hastoy has scored more points in the competition than any other player this season (73).
  • Levani Botia won a round-high four turnovers in the quarter-finals.
  • Thomas Lavault claimed more lineouts on his team’s throw than any other player in the quarter-finals (8).
  • Grégory Alldritt has made a competition-high 41 ‘pick-and-gos’ so far this season, amounting to an unrivalled 42 metres in contact from such carries. He has made more carries (97) and contact metres (116) than any other player.

Exeter Chiefs

  • Sam Simmonds beat seven defenders in the quarter-final – the second-highest total and the most defenders beaten by a forward in the round.
  • Joe Simmonds was the only player to kick a 50/22 in the quarter-finals.
  • Of the 24 teams who have competed in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, Exeter have averaged the most metres per 80 minutes (142).

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