Leinster Rugby will be looking for a record-equaling fifth European star when they take on Stade Rochelais in the Heineken Champions Cup final at the Stade Vélodrome on Saturday.
The two teams have met just once before in the Heineken Champions Cup, with La Rochelle triumphing 32-23 in last season’s semi-finals.
It will be the fifth time that an Irish side have met a TOP 14 club in the European Cup final, and Irish sides have won on each of the previous four occasions.
It’s Leinster’s sixth European Cup final, with Saracens handing the Irish province their only loss in the main game in 2019.
Meanwhile, La Rochelle won two of their previous three games against Irish opposition in the competition, with both successes coming on French soil.
The match in Marseille kicks off at 4.45pm UK and Ireland time and can be seen on BT Sport, Channel 4, Virgin Media, beIN SPORTS, France 2 and Sky Italia.
Leinster: 4th, Group A
La Rochelle: 3rd, Group A
Leinster Rugby 40 Toulousain Stadium 17
Races 92 13 Rochelais Stadium 20
Record of direct confrontations in the Heineken Champions Cup
Leinster win: 0
La Rochelle win: 1
2021/22 Top Scorers
Leinster: Johnny Sexton (65)
La Rochelle: West Ihaia (67)
Josh van der Flier (Leinster flanker): “Certainly there is a hunger in the team to go back there and win it. I wouldn’t say we feel a lot of pressure because obviously it’s a very difficult thing to win.
“Looking at the team and the squad, there are many of us in the team who would not have played in a European final before. It’s certainly not something we’re used to, so it’s very, very exciting.”
Ronan O’Gara (La Rochelle coach): “We will have to impose our game on them and then it will be important to occupy and play in their zone. Because when they get closer to 22 meters, it is a difficult team to stop. They are very clean in their structure. It’s important to control the ball well.”
It all comes down to this ????
Clock @leinsterrugby v @staderochelais to live @francetvsport, @beinsports_FR, @btsportrugby, @C4Sport & @VMSportIE ????#HeinekenChampionsCup Final Tickets ➡️ https://t.co/2uBVJ8RagM pic.twitter.com/4buKAj4I0t
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) May 23, 2022
Other key stats
- Leinster would equal Toulouse’s record of five European Cup titles if they beat La Rochelle in Marseille.
- Leinster have won each of their seven games in the Heineken Champions Cup this season (excluding canceled games), including both of their games against French opposition; the 40 points he scored against Toulouse in the semi-final was the second most of any team at that stage of the competition (Saracens, 46 against ASM Clermont Auvergne in 2013/14).
- La Rochelle will become the seventh team to feature in consecutive European Cup finals (also CA Brive, Leicester Tigers, Stade Toulousain, Leinster, RC Toulon and Saracens).
- La Rochelle have won 11 of their 12 Heineken Champions Cup matches since the start of last season (L1, excluding canceled matches), with their only loss in that period coming in last season’s final (17-22 v Toulouse). ); they have scored 30-plus points in five of their seven games so far this season.
- Leinster boast the fastest average ruck speed of any team in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup (2.84s); La Rochelle have recorded the best ruck success rate this season (97%) and have the fifth best ruck speed (3.28s).
- Leinster have averaged the most meters (931), line jumps (10) and passes (184) per game in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, while also boasting the best tackle success rate in the competition ( 91%); La Rochelle has recorded the third best ticket success rate (89%).
- La Rochelle have spent the highest percentage of time in opposition territory of any club in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup (56%), while Leinster have averaged the most 22 innings of any team (15.1). and recorded the most points per 22 innings (3.26). ).
- Leinster’s James Lowe is the highest try scorer in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup (10) and needs just one more try to equal Chris Ashton’s record of 11 tries in a single campaign (2013/14); Lowe has also made more line breaks than any other player in the competition this season (12), while his teammate Jimmy O’Brien has made the second most (10).
- La Rochelle’s Gregory Alldritt has made the most carries of any player in the Heineken Champions Cup this season (113), while ranking second in meters (731), defenses beaten (28), volleys (15) and losses balls won (8) in the competition this season.