La Rochelle change tactics to stun Racing 92

La Rochelle change tactics to stun Racing 92

La Rochelle stunned Racing 92 13-19 in the Top 14 barrage to book their place in the Top 14 semi-finals against Toulouse.

La Rochelle snuck into the Top 14 barrage along with Montpellier in the final round of the regular season last week and headed to Racing's old home, the Stade Olympique Yves du Manior with the U-Arena booked for a concert.

The visitors reached the playoffs with an attacking style of rugby with the intention and willingness of running the ball from all parts of the pitch. However, they headed to Paris with a different game plan and it worked!

New Zealander's Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Ihaia West kicked a lot more than they had in other games throughout this season while their forwards got stuck in up front.

Racing came flying out the blocks in the opening minutes of the game but it was Ihaia West who broke the deadlock in the 11th minute with a shot at goal.

He would convert another two penalties before Racing were punished for their ill-discipline with Henry Chavancy going to the sin bin. West popped over another three points from the resulting penalty before Maxime Machenaud got Racing on the board with a penalty of his own on the stroke of half time.

The first try came in the 52nd minute and it was well worth the wait as La Rochelle produced some of the attacking rugby that they have displayed throughout the season, as Retiere collected a cross kick to score out wide after a lovely bit of attacking play that saw Rattez sprint down the opposite touchline


West maintained his 100% goal kicking accuracy to extend their lead to 16 points but that would be the last impact on the scoreboard that La Rochelle would make.

Leone Nakawara went over for Racing following a lineout with Iribaren adding the conversion and another penalty as Racing looked as if they were going to snatch the win.

Their efforts were in vain as a few late handling errors game La Rochelle possession and ultimately a penalty with time up on the clock. 

La Rochelle will now face Toulouse in the semi-final of the Top 14 while Lyon and Montpellier face off in the other barrage with the winner set to face Clermont.

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