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La Rochelle's 4 biggest new season signing

By Online Editors
Two of La Rochelle's biggest signings: Lopeti Timani and Ihaia West

La Rochelle return to the Challenge Cup in 2018/19 after an impressive maiden European Rugby Champions Cup campaign last season, when they topped Pool 1 before losing 30-19 to Scarlets in the quarter-finals.

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Here are four of their four biggest close season signing according to the ECPR.

Lopeti Timani
Height 6’4
Weight 124kg
Age 27

The Australia back-row forward joins La Rochelle after spells at Super Rugby’s Waratahs and, most recently, the Rebels.

The 27-year-old, who has won 12 caps, is the brother of former Australia lock Sitaleki Timani. He currently plays for ASM Clermont Auvergne.

Ihaia West
Height 5’9
Weight 84kg
Age 26

The 26-year-old fly-half spent last season at Super Rugby side Hurricanes, having completed four years at Auckland-based Blues.

West will be well known to fans of the British and Irish Lions, having scored the match-winning try and conversion for Blues at Eden Park in their first match of the 2017 tour.

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Marc Andreu
Height 5’6
Weight 75kg
Age 32

The 32-year-old wing has moved to La Rochelle after five seasons with Champions Cup finalists Racing 92 and previous stints at RC Toulon and Castres Olympique.

Andreu has an excellent record in European rugby, having scored 11 tries in 38 matches, including a spectacular effort against ASM Clermont Auvergne in last year’s Champions Cup quarter-finals.

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Sila Puafisi
Height 6’1
Weight 122kg
Age 30

The Tonga prop comes to La Rochelle after a spell at Brive, who were relegated from the TOP 14 last season.

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The 30-year-old has played in the English Premiership for Gloucester Rugby and, more recently, in the PRO14 with Glasgow Warriors, featuring in three European quarter-finals, with the most recent coming in 2017 in a 38-13 Champions Cup defeat to eventual winners Saracens.

Source: www.epcrugby.com

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finn 9 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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