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Bears knocked out of Europe after thrashing

By Online Editors
Bristol Bears Director of Rugby Pat Lam. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Bristol’s European Challenge Cup came to an end as they were thrashed 39-15 by La Rochelle in the quarter-finals.


A penalty try plus scores from Gregory Alldritt, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Wiaan Liebenberg and Vincent Rattez took the French outfit into a home semi-final against Sale Sharks.

All Bristol could muster were two tries courtesy of Steven Luatua and Piers O’Conor and five points from the boot of outside half Ian Madigan.

Ihaia West opened up the scoring for the hosts with a penalty from a tricky angle 35 metres out.

La Rochelle then showed their power with Alldritt muscling his way over from short range after a powerful driving lineout. West added the conversion from the far left-hand touchline to give his side a 10-0 lead.

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Bristol finally opened their account with Madigan slotting over a straightforward penalty attempt after their hosts were penalised for not rolling away at the breakdown.

The hosts exploded back into life when La Rochelle’s forwards lay siege to the Bristol line and Uini Atonio claimed to have scored a try, but the TMO decided the ball had been grounded.

But referee John Lacey was soon standing underneath the crossbar after awarding La Rochelle a penalty try which came as a result of their dominance in the scrum.

La Rochelle extended their lead when full-back Rattez sliced open the Bristol defence with a scintillating 50-metre break before drawing his man to put Doumayrou over for a try which West converted.


Bristol were finally able to get a foothold in the game after they found a way past the French side’s suffocating defence. After a series of powerful carries by the forwards, Luatua squeezed over from short range with Madigan converting from straight in front of the posts.

But La Rochelle scored another long-range try in the stroke of half-time when Rattez burst clear and then offloaded to Liebenberg who gave the hosts a 29-10 lead at the interval.

La Rochelle claimed the second half’s first points with West dissecting the posts from 45 metres to extend the lead.

Rattez finished off a terrific performance with a stunning individual try as he danced his way past Dan Thomas and Harry Randall to touch down under the crossbar with Ryan Lamb adding the extras.

O’Conor grabbed a late consolation try as he benefited from a lovely break from Luke Daniels, but Bristol were well beaten.


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RUGBYPASS+ One last banquet awaits 'Guzzler' at the Rugby World Cup One last banquet awaits 'Guzzler' at the Rugby World Cup