La Rochelle staged another French showdown in the Champions Cup quarter-finals
Ihaia West scored 16 points as La Rochelle booked a Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final with Montpellier after a hard-fought win over Bordeaux-Bègles at 14.
The fly-half scored a first-half try and managed four conversions and a penalty as Ronan O’Gara’s much-changed side, who took an 18-point lead in the second leg, triumphed 31-23 against a stubborn Bordeaux side who fought until the final whistle despite the early dismissal of number eight Maama Vaipulu.
A 62-36 aggregate win means Montpellier will travel to Stade Marcel Deflandre in the quarter-finals.
The visitors took a 3-0 lead through Maxime Lucu’s 15th-minute penalty, but it was quickly canceled out by West after the La Rochelle pack flexed their muscles from the set piece.
Bordeaux were reduced to 14 with just 27 minutes left when referee Wayne Barnes sent off Vaipulu for an insane shoulder charge on center Jonathan Danty, but Lucu restored their advantage with a second kick to give his side a boost. lead 6-3 at halftime.
However, West worked his way through the visitors’ defense within two minutes of the restart to hit the ground for the game’s first try before adding on the conversion to make it 10-6, and had obliged again after number eight Greg Alldritt crossed.
The 53rd-minute converted try from 19-year-old center Gatien Masse gave the 14 men hope, but it was extinguished almost immediately when Danty shoved his way past setting the halfback. Tawera Kerr-Barlow scrimmage.
Substitute Levani Botia netted La Rochelle’s fourth try 12 minutes from time after Mateo Garcia handed the visitors a third penalty as they cruised to victory despite Jules Plisson’s late yellow card and a try from consolation from winger Federico Mori.
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