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The most competitive of the two Champions Cup semi-finals sees this talented La Rochelle side take on the previous four-time European champions, Leinster.
The French outfit have pulled clear alongside Toulouse of the rest of the pack in their domestic league in the Top 14, having won 15 of their 21 outings in the league this term.
Although they’re odds-against underdogs for this encounter, we’d expect them to put in a strong performance.
Leinster continue to dominate the European rugby circuit. The only team to have knocked them out of this tournament over the previous three seasons has been Saracens, as the Irish outfit won in 2017/18, finished runner-up in 2018/19 and last season reached the quarters.
They continue to play at the highest level having beaten the defending champions Exeter in the quarters and they’re without a doubt the team to beat.
La Rochelle, on the other hand, have had it fairly easy to get this far, hosting Edinburgh and getting an awarded win against Bath due to Covid, while victories over Gloucester and Sale in the knockouts are hardly the most difficult of fixtures, with only the latter team from Salford likely to reach their domestic play-offs this term.
They have had some disappointing results in more recent times too, losing to Toulouse (14-11) and Castres (22-15) since late February, and although they beat fellow semi-finalist Bordeaux by 15 points a month ago, this will be a huge step up.
Leinster 1-12 Points Winning Margin
Leo Cullen’s men have won 10 of their last 11 fixtures dating back to early January, one of which was an awarded 30-0 result against Toulon due to Covid, while their sole defeat over that period came when fielding a much-weakened side against Ospreys.
Interestingly, six of those nine competed for victories came by 12 points or fewer and that could be the way to go in this incredibly competitive last-four clash, especially with the Irish outfit having to travel to France.