French giants La Rochelle sent a World Cup message by unpicking Ireland’s best | Robert Kitson

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The defending champions’ giant yellow sledgehammer decided a thrilling contest and hinted at unstoppable French strength

Plenty of weighty questions will continue to hang in the Dublin air in the months ahead after the stunning Champions Cup final between La Rochelle and Leinster on Saturday. An official investigation has already been opened into a reported altercation in the tunnel at half-time but the implications of what unfolded on the field could prove even more significant in the medium term.

Not only was this one of the most compelling modern rugby spectacles imaginable – up there with the thunderous second Test between the Springboks and the British & Irish Lions in Pretoria in 2009 – but it also detonated a heap of received wisdom. Ireland’s best players, grand slam champions in March, have now been unpicked on their home pitch in front of their own fans less than four months before the Rugby World Cup. Meanwhile Stade Rochelais, driven on by their resident Irish guru, Ronan O’Gara, continue to elevate the game to another level in terms of power, passion and regional pride. Good luck to anyone seeking a quiet contemplative harbourside drink in La Rochelle in the coming days.

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Written by Robert Kitson
This news first appeared on under the title “French giants La Rochelle sent a World Cup message by unpicking Ireland’s best | Robert Kitson”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.