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La Rochelle player ratings vs Leinster | 2023 Heineken Champions Cup

By Ian Cameron
Will Skelton of La Rochelle reacts during the Heineken Champions Cup Final match between Leinster Rugby and Stade Rochelais at Aviva Stadium on May 20, 2023 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

La Rochelle player ratings: They may have started slowly but Ronan O’Gara side collective grew into the game, which at one stage looked like a Leinster procession.

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In the end a game they reeled in a game that looked nearly out of sight and were good value for their 1 point victory, which didn’t reflect the dominance of a Leinster’s side that choked.

15. Brice Dulin – 7
Picked apart in the early kick exchanges by a super accurate Leinster. Forced to play scrumhalf for a spell but proved a telling rear guard influence throughout.

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14. Dillyn Leyds – 6.5
The ageing South African was left to cameos in the first half, but had more to show of himself in the second. A calm head as Leinster lost their nerve.

13. UJ Seuteni – 6
Did all he could to stop Leinster’s second try, but it wasn’t enough. Got a 5-pointer of his own that brought the French roaring back into the game before half-time. Made a number of telling breaks and outshone Robbie Henshaw by an order of magnitude.

12. Jonathan Danty – 4.5
Swallowed up by the Leinster defence at times and but did well to crash his way over 20 minutes into the game, giving La Rochelle an early lifeline. A painful spillage in the 59th minute stung, as did his late yellow.

11. Raymond Rhule – 6
Didn’t see much ball in the first half and was a bit part player for much of it, the game largely decided upfront. Did reasonably well under high ball pressure, a gambit that ultimately didn’t pay off for Leinster.

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10. Antoine Hastoy – 7.5
Maybe lacked a bit of accuracy in the kick-tennis stakes and Leinster built off it. Started to pull the strings as Leinster struggled to compete in the man-up-a-thon stakes. La Rochelle dominated possession from the 30 to the 65th minute and it was near arm-chairs stuff in parts.

9. Tawera Kerr Barlow – 7
His ding dong battle with Gibson-Park was a really fascinating sub-plot, a battle he ultimately shaded. His 50th minute charge down proved costly for Leinster.

1. Reda Wardi – 7
The French international carried hard and did a good job getting into Furlong, who really needs to look at himself as the Rugby World Cup approaches.

2. Pierre Bourgarit – 6
Gave away a totally pointless penalty when La Rochelle were set to launch in Leinster 22. Was busy as the French side’s principal maul director, an area of the game that Leinster had a tough time combating.

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3. Uini Atonio – 7
The giant showed his versatility as unlikely but effective first receiver. Had the better of the set-piece before being hauled off after 60 minutes.

4. Romain Sazy – 6.5
An onlooker for much of the first half, he was better in the second. A workmanlike shift but an effective one.

5. Will Skelton – 8.5
As per usual, proved a massive issue for Leinster to deal with. His seismic carries began to wear Leinster down and he more or less single-handedly pulled his side back into the match. Took a few strategic breaks, but who can blame him, this rugby stuff is hard going.

6. Paul Boudehent – 6
Errors cost him badly, a fumble directly leading to Leinster’s third try. It was rabbits in the headlights at that stage but still, a costly error. It was a real case of the butter fingers for the 23-year-old but he never gave up.

7. Levani Botia – 7.5
A turnover threat but conceded a penalty that cost his side 3 points in the 22nd minute. Won a few back and the veteran ended his ledger in the black.

8. Grégory Alldritt (c) – 7
Another player who grew in confidence as the game went on, even if he didn’t enjoy the meterage he’s normally afforded . Was ignominiously stripped of the ball by van der Flier. He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last but the French star had the last laugh.

Replacements – 7: La Rochelle’s bench never let up, and their forward dominance in the end was uninterrupted as Ultan Dillane and co continued to pummel the Leinster defensive line. Georges Henri Colombe 71st minute try would prove the difference.

 

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Jon 48 minutes ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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