Stade Rochelais vs Leinster Rugby Preview
This Sunday, Stade Rochelais host Leinster in the first-round fixture of the European Rugby Champions Cup. The competition begins in early December and runs until late May. This match on Sunday, December 10, at 3:15 PM will be one to watch given the stiff competition in the group. Leinster is currently first in the United Rugby Championship, and Stade Rochelais is ninth in the French Top 14.
The Marcel-Deflandre Stadium will host the fixture this weekend. Leinster looks the marginal favourites as they enter the competition with a six-game winning streak. Stade Rochelais started the season poorly, winning one of their first four games. However, they are hosting Leinster after a decisive victory over USAP, 35-6. A win this weekend will help determine who will challenge for the top spots in the ERCC division.
Stade Rochelais vs Leinster Rugby Head-To-head and Key Stats
In the last few years, the sides have faced off three times. The first match was in May 2021. Stade Rochelais played at home, and they won by nine points. In the next fixture a year later, Leinster lost again in France, but the margin was a lot closer as the sides finished three points apart. The final meeting was in May 2023, and Stade Rochelais was victorious. They played the match in Dublin, and the scoreline was even closer. Only one point separated the sides at the final whistle, which had fantastic betting odds at halftime.
When the sides met in May this year, Leinster had a slight advantage as they played the match in Dublin. The teams met in the Heineken Champions Cup final 2022-23, in what turned out to be a thrilling contest. A short line out caught the French side off guard with a Dan Sheehan try after 40 seconds. Leinster continued to dominate and scored two more tries inside 15 minutes. Stade Rochelais were under pressure, and an early yellow card only added to the atmosphere. The French side got a foothold in the game, but the first half finished 23-14.
In the second half, Leinster was on the back foot and let a 26-17 lead slip. Their players lost their heads, and persistent infringements meant Stade Rochelais scored, and Ronan Kelleher was sent to the sin bin. With only seven minutes on the clock, Leinster needed any points to win the game. A high tackle by Jonathan Danty levelled the game, with both sides down to 14 with five minutes to go. However, a moment of madness from Michael Ala’alatoa all but ended the game. With Leinster in possession five meters out, Ala’alatoa dives over the ruck and flattens a Rochelais defender. He receives a red card for the move and gives the French side possession. La Rochelle saw out the remaining time and became consecutive Heineken Cup champions.
If the previous match is any indication of what to expect from this game, we are certainly in for a treat. Leinster will want revenge, especially since they let an important lead slip at the end of the game earlier this year. Plus, the players lost their discipline on the big occasion, giving away too many cheap penalties and cards. Also, this fixture looks like a grudge match, as there has been at least one yellow card in every game.
This season, Leinster is the more in-form side. They have found their groove over the past few weeks and have lost only one match this season. Looking at the past two fixtures in the URC, Leinster defeated local rivals Munster and Connacht. Neither game was clinical, but the best rugby union sides find a way to win no matter the cost. La Rochelle is ninth in the French Top 14 league this season, having only won four games. They are nine points off the top of the table Racing 92 and have struggled both home and away. They lost at home to Castres in late October, and the most recent defeat was a 32-10 demolition at Racing 92. Interestingly, in that match two weeks ago, Stade Rochelais had a man sent off inside 25 minutes in a game with three yellow cards.
It’s always good fun betting on the European Rugby Champions Cup, but this fixture feels a little different. Leinster is in cracking form this season and could get a result on the road. Looking at the Heineken Champions, they have performed below expectations this season. They look off the mark and are nearly ten points away from the leaders this early in the season. However, Leinster are yet to beat the French side in three attempts.
Stade Rochelais vs Leinster Rugby Predictions
Usually, when betting on rugby union matches, the bookmaker will favour the home side. However, given the form of Stade Rochelais this season, Leinster has the edge for the match on Sunday. The odds of Leinster winning are 17/20, which would yield €18.50 from a ten-euro bet. Betting on the home side to win has odds of 21/20, which returns €20.50 from the same value stake. A draw in this fixture is worth 18/1, slightly more likely than your average rugby match.
If we had to predict a winner, Leinster has the edge. They have been poor and sloppy the past few games and yet still came out ahead after 80 minutes. Asking them to do it again in France could be one step too many, especially since all three previous meetings have gone to La Rochelle. However, if there was ever a time to strike, now certainly seems it.
Stade Rochelais seem out of sorts in the league, especially after the home defeat in October. They hosted Castres Olympique, and the away side collected three yellow cards within half an hour. You would think with the home crowd and a significant man advantage, they could see out the game. However, they let the lead slip in the second half and could not respond.
We predict a tight match this week, even though the two sides have very different league forms. Stade Rochelais always seem to come alive when playing Leinster, so they will be up for winning this game. Also, Leinster has only lost one league game this season, and it was on the road. But we still think the Irish side will have the edge in this fixture. They might have gotten away with mediocre performances at home to Munster and away to Connacht, but they got the job done. We can see them recreating a similar performance this weekend. Recovering from behind to clinch the game within five points of the opposition.
Stade Rochelais vs Leinster Rugby Betting Tips
If you are signing up for online betting this weekend, using your welcome bonus on this fixture is a good idea. We predict Leinster will win, which is great as the odds for the favourite this week are more rewarding than usual. The game is on a knife-edge, meaning either side could win on the day.
Anyone contemplating placing live wagers on this game has a lot to consider. For starters, Leinster has gone behind in both of their recent fixtures. Waiting for Stade Rochelais to take an early lead and betting on the away side could be a good move. One aspect to watch out for is the yellow cards. The last time these teams faced off, the referee handed out four cards. Also, the French side picked up a red card in their most recent league defeat. An incident could be on the cards this week.
Betting on Leinster is a safer option this week, but there is not much in it. However, if you are determined to increase your returns, you can look at the winning margin market or a handicap bet. Leinster to win by one to seven points is worth 14/5. A €20 wager on this market will return €76 if they win the match by under eight points. If you think history will repeat itself and the home side will win by the same margin, you can get odds of 3/1. Three points or fewer have settled the past two matches between the clubs.
Remember to gamble responsibly this week, as there are several rugby union games to enjoy. The European Rugby Champions Cup has two fixtures in mid-December before we go back to the regular season. It’s important not to get carried away now, as we are still a long way from the important matches this season. If you intend to bet on rugby union matches, only risk what you can afford.
🏉 | Ross Byrne will be unavailable until the new year, after having a procedure on an arm injury last week.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) December 5, 2023
Stade Rochelais Team News and Lineups
La Rochelle head coach Ronan O’Gara will know all about Leinster from his playing days, as he registered 240 appearances for Munster. Having been head coach at La Rochelle since 2019, he has led the side to a lot of success at the cost of Leinster. This time, he will have to do it again much earlier in the competition than the final. In player news, four squad members have extended their deals in recent weeks. Aleksandre Kuntelia, Nathan Bollengier, Dillyn Leyds, and Charles Kanté-Samba signed new deals.
- La Rochelle Predicted Lineup: R. Wardi, P. Bourgarit, U. Antonio, T. Lavault, U. Dillane, J. Cancoriet, U. Dillane, Y. Tanga Mangene, T. Kerr-Barlow, H. Reus, D. Leyds, J. Farve, U. Seuteni, J. Nowell, and B. Dulin.
Leinster Rugby Team News and Lineups
Head coach Leo Cullen updated his squad ahead of the clash in France. Ross Byrne is now unavailable for the rest of 2023 after having an operation on an arm injury. Jamie Osborne also picked up an injury and will have a procedure this week. Alex Soroka has returned to full training ahead of the fixture, and they will assess Michael Milne later this week. John McKee, Luke McGrath, and Tommy O’Brien are still out with no return date.
- Leinster Predicted Lineup: E. Byrne, R. Kelleher, M. Alaalatoa, J. McCarthy, J. Jenkins, M. Deegan, J. van der Flier, C. Sweetman-Doris, J. Gibson-Park, H. Byrne, J. O’Brien, J. Osborne, G. Ringrose, J. Larmour, and C. Frawley.