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Glasgow's Champions Cup campaign 'hanging by a thread' after La Rochelle defeat

By PA
Glasgow Warriors v Stade Rochelais – Heineken Champions Cup – Pool A – Scotstoun Stadium

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Glasgow’s hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup hang by a thread following a 38-30 defeat to La Rochelle at Scotstoun.

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Leading 15-9 at the interval, the French visitors pulled away in the second half with two tries in five minutes from Pierre Bougarit and Pierre Boudehent.

Warriors responded with two late replies from Ollie Smith but it was not enough to overturn the result, and they must now rely on both Ospreys and Montpellier failing to get what they need from their final matches on Sunday, against Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs, respectively, if they are to progress.

La Rochelle dominated from the start and Warriors were reduced to 14 men after just five minutes when Fraser Brown was yellow-carded for dropping a maul.

Somehow the home side survived the early onslaught, though, and took the lead against the run of play through a Ross Thompson offside penalty.

But Scott Cummings was penalised for going off his feet straight from the restart and that allowed Pierre Popelin to square it with 10 minutes played.

La Rochelle continued to dominate and Glasgow did well to keep their line intact during the remainder of that period with a man less.

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Eventually the pressure told, with Raymond Rhule reaching out of a tackle from Sam Johnson and dotting down, before Popelin nailed the tricky touchline conversion for good measure.

Warriors managed to make it into La Rochelle territory for only the second time in the match after 25 minutes and once again they took something from it when Thompson slotted another penalty.

Then, with 32 minutes played, Thompson reduced the gap to a single point when Romain Sazy was penalised for being in front of the kicker.

It looked like Warriors were going to finish the half with a flourish when Josh McKay broke up the right, but he stepped inside instead of feeding Kyle Steyn on his outside and a dropped ball a few phases later allowed La Rochelle to clear down field.

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And when Paul Boudehent muscled over in the last play of the first period it gave the visitors a 15-9 lead at the break.

Warriors bounced back brilliantly in the opening minute of the second half, with Thompson jinking through a gap then sending McKay in for a fine try, and Thompson’s conversion put the hosts in front.

But Warriors then imploded, coughing up 20 points inside five minutes through tries for Bougarit and Pierre Boudehent, plus two conversions and two penalties from Popelin.

That made the gap an insurmountable 19 points with half an hour still to play.

Two late tries from replacement full-back Smith were not enough to secure a bonus point for the home side and Ihaia West scored a late penalty to round off a convincing win for La Rochelle.

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