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Watch: Ex-Springbok sparks coast-to-coast La Rochelle try with audacious in goal run

By Sam Smith
(Source/Canal+)

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Ex-Springbok winger Raymond Rhule has sparked a wild length of the field try for La Rochelle in their Top 14 clash with Racing 92 as they shut out the Parisian club 19-0.

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La Rochelle were defending their own line with less than three minutes to go holding a 12-0 lead before a turnover at the ruck killed off Racing’s attack.

Instead of clearing the lines, La Rochelle’s reserve flyhalf Pierre Popelin decided to fling a wild cutout pass behind his own goal posts to another teammate in the in-goal.

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Once the ball found the space into the hands of former Springbbok Raymond Rhule, Racing were in trouble. The South African put the gas on to explode down the left hand touchline before some smart offloading found scrumhalf Thomas Berjon on the inside.

Berjon cruised over to score the try much to the delight of the home crowd who were delirious over the length of the field movement. It was the only try of the game after Kiwi flyhalf Ihaia West kicked four penalties up to that point.

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Rhule hasn’t played for the Springboks since 2017 when he was out-of-sorts defensively in the historic 57-0 defeat to the All Blacks. He played just seven tests, all in the one season.

The 29-year-old moved to France in 2018 after his Springbok career seemingly had been cut short and spent two seasons at Grenoble before moving to La Rochelle in 2020.

La Rochelle’s victory kept them in the top four on the league table along with Montpellier, Bordeaux and Toulouse as they look to return to the Top 14 final that they lost to Toulouse last year.

Forwards coach Donnacha Ryan was happy with the platform his pack laid for the win, pointing to the set-piece and defence which kept Racing 92 scoreless.

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“Our [returning] internationals brought their energy to the group,” Ryan said.

“We were very good at the lineout, very good in the scrum, and our defence performed well. Every time they threatened in our 22, we handled the pressure very well.”

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