And the deliverance came from the racy winger, sometimes decried, orphan of try since the last New Year's Eve and author of a double. Including this second flattened ball that he went for to get the Maritimes out of the trap set and almost successful +Cherry and White+.

In the next round, the defending champions will once again meet Marcel-Deflandre, 16th man effective in the money-time, to face either the English Saracens or the Welsh Ospreys, opposed Sunday in London.

While we promised a walk of health to the Rochelais after their show of strength in Bordeaux (36-6), which is more against Gloucester at any season in the Premiership (9th), it was not.

Gregory Alldritt grabs the ball on a touchdown shot on April 1, 2023 during the eighth round of the Champions Cup difficult won by La Rochelle against Gloucester © Thibaud MORITZ / AFP / Archives

This is to the credit of Bill Twelvetrees' teammates who played their all-rounder, without calculating, and left fear the worst to the yellow and black people, a little circumspect in the face of the resistance of the opponent who played equal to the score with his favorites.

Rochelais hardly serene

And it continued on the return from the dressing room, Ronan O'Gara's men regularly sinning in their intentions against a united visiting rearguard.

The suspense was total during this 11th confrontation between the two teams that has become a classic, with seven tries scored including four by the defending champions.

The Rochelais, at the complicated start due to lack of discipline and pierced like blues on a combination in touch a little happy concluded by Chris Harris (3-10, 13th), found the link thanks to this power that had done so much harm to UBB in the Top 14.

Again, the Gloucester players suffered in the scrum, on impacts with Will Skelton as chief minesweeper, finally cracking only once in front of the penetrating Pierre Bourgarit after a big pick-and-go sequence (22nd).

This passing euphoria also smiled on Teddy Thomas who stole a ball from the hands of Billy Twelvetrees to finish in goal (15-10, 26th).

But it was written that nothing would be easy for the defending champion, victim of a new launch on the touchline, with acceleration opposite wing of Louis Rees-Zemmit, followed by a sweep of the field to find Freddie Clarke alone in the corner (34th).

At the resumption, Tawera Kerr-Barlow (46th) thought to launch his own definitively but Twelvetrees delivered a pass to the magic foot on Rees-Zemmit shortly after (22-20) suggesting a strong tension to come.

Tense, Grégory Alldritt's teammates put themselves at fault, punished by the opposing boot (56th, 71st) before regaining their spirit and hope.

Following a penalty played by hand from 5 yards, there was a good three minutes of shelling of the English line before the ball bounced back to Thomas for the try of victory and relief in the 78th.

© 2023 AFP