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La Rochelle hold off Edinburgh to reach semis


La Rochelle hold off Edinburgh to reach semis

Edinburgh’s valiant second-half comeback fell short as La Rochelle progressed to the semi-finals of the European Challenge Cup with a 32-22 away win.

Neither side progressed beyond the pool stage of last season’s competition, but the Top 14 club are just one game away from the final as their impressive first half proved enough to secure victory.

Two tries from hooker Jeremie Maurouard and further efforts from Arthur Retiere and Steeve Barry helped La Rochelle establish a 26-12 half-time advantage.

Phil Burleigh and Ross Ford went over for Edinburgh in the opening 40 minutes and a comeback appeared on the cards when Hamish Watson latched onto an excellent offload from Bill Mata.

The gap was just four points after Duncan Weir’s 66th-minute penalty, which came after La Rochelle’s Lekso Kaulashvili was sin-binned for an off-the-ball hit on Damien Hoyland. 

But Edinburgh could not make their numerical advantage count and two penalties from Brock James – who accounted for 12 of La Rochelle’s points – made the game safe.

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La Rochelle hold off Edinburgh to reach semis