La Rochelle vs Leinster Prediction: Leinster look set to fall short again

 | December 09 | 

3 mins read

Rugby Union Generic

There is a replay of the last two Champions Cup finals when La Rochelle host Leinster in Pool D on Sunday.

The French club has quickly established itself as a continental contender, reaching the last three Champions Cup finals despite never winning the Top 14.

After losing to Toulouse in 2021, they have beaten Leinster in the last two finals in 2022 and 2023 but are still the slight underdogs going into Sunday's game, despite it being played at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre.

The Dublin side are European rugby royalty, winning this competition four times, and have the type of squad depth that allowed them to rest a raft of stars as they held on for last weekend's 24-22 win at Connacht.

La Rochelle warmed up for this one by beating Perpignan 35-6 but will be without coach Ronan O'Gara, often the scourge of Leinster when a player for Munster.

He serves a one-match touchline ban for his conduct on the sidelines in the recent defeat to Racing 92.

Even so, O'Gara is sure to have spotted an area where his side can undo their opponents and if not, he will just look for them to outmuscle their rivals, as they did in those two finals.

La Rochelle vs Leinster Tips

  • La Rochelle to win by 1-12 points inclusive @ 2/1

Match Odds

Leinster, who have won their last seven games are the 10/11 favourites for the match, with La Rochelle 20/21 and the tie 20/1.

Away from the match betting, Leinster are the 11/4 favourites to match Toulouse's record of five Champions Cup titles, with La Rochelle 10/3 to become only the second club after Toulon to win three in a row.

Team news

La Rochelle have named a blockbuster back-row of Paul Boudehent, Levani Botia and Yoan Tanga, while lock Thomas Lavault is set to make his 100th appearance for the club.

Leinster have named nine of the team that started last season's final, with centre Garry Ringrose and lock James Ryan set to co-captain the side.

Hooker Dan Sheehan will make his 50th outing for the side, while Harry Byrne starts at number 10 after his brother Ross was ruled out until next year with an arm injury.

La Rochelle to win by 1-12 points inclusive @ 2/1

Like it or not, La Rochelle's physicality has seen them get the better of the more stylish Leinster on all three occasions the teams have met, but never by more than nine points.

The Dubliners have enjoyed another fine autumn and early winter, but maintaining their form to win silverware in the late spring has been a real issue.

Leo Cullen and Jacques Nineaber's policy might be to leave them undercooked heading into the New Year and a defeat might not be such a bad thing in the long run, and may even suggest they have learned their lessons around building their form through the season.

La Rochelle have won four of their five home matches this season and with the Deflandre rocking, they could open their Pool D campaign with another statement victory.

Rugby Union betting tips, from Insights.

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