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Kearney And Horgan Dissect Leinster's Devastating Champions Cup Final Loss

Kearney And Horgan Dissect Leinster's Devastating Champions Cup Final Loss
By Gary Connaughton Updated

La Rochelle have beaten Leinster 24-21 with a last minute try in today's Champions Cup final. Making it four years in a row where Leinster have gone into knockout games in the tournament as favourites but got outplayed and outthought.

Speaking on Virgin TV, ex-Leinster men Rob Kearney and Shane Horgan gave their thoughts on a tryless Leinster performance and an impressive showing from La Rochelle.

Horgan: "Devastation for Leinster but no doubt La Rochelle deserved to win that game. There was an inevitability about what we saw unfold over the last ten minutes of that game.

"The tension was huge and all of a sudden it felt like an away day for Leinster, not just a final, it felt like a home game for La Rochelle. Leinster mismanaged that second half and key periods of it there's no doubt. But La Rochelle played the game in the right place, played with all the territory, they had all the possession, especially in the second half.

"We saw what the danger we said before the game, is that Leinster revert to the types of performances that we've seen in the last couple of years and particularly last year against La Rochelle in the semi and before that against Sarries in the quarter, and against Sarries in the final. They tighten up a little bit and their shape isn't as sophisticated."

Kearney: "We're so used to seeing this Leinster team score tries and tries and tries for fun in every game.

"It's the best team they've played against this season. They didn't lose the collision area but they weren't as dominant in it as they have been throughout the season, we didn't see forwards interplaying as much as we had, changing the point of contact, those balls out the back, the plus to the second forward. Some of the passing was a little bit inaccurate at times, they'll be devastated."

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They would have to wait until after the hour mark for their second try.

It came after forcing a penalty deep inside Leinster territory, with La Rochelle kicking for the corner. They would then drive the ensuing maul over the line, setting up a grandstand finish to the game.

With less than 20 minutes left to play, Leinster would lead on a scoreline of 18-17.

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La Rochelle seemingly made their task a lot more difficult by getting themselves reduced to 14 men.

It came after an incredibly stupid piece of play from Thomas Lavault, who needlessly tripped Jamison Gibson Park as he made his way up the pitch.

Ross Byrne would score the resulting penalty to extend their lead to four points.

However, this only seemed to revitalise the French side. They spent the guts of ten minute launching a sustained attack on the Leinster line, one which ultimately ended with a try at the most convenient of times.

There would be no time for the Irish side to respond.

SEE ALSO: 'We Probably Didn’t Get The Build Up Right', Sexton On Champions Cup Regrets And O'Gara Rivalry

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