It has been a middling Champions Cup for French teams over the first couple of weeks of the tournament, with a number of disappointing results. Clermont Auvergne, Lyon, and Montepellier have all lost games already, with La Rochelle adding another defeat to that list this afternoon.
They would fall to a 25-15 defeat in Sale with the English side coming away rather convincing winners.
La Rochelle's cause certainly was not helped by the fact they had to play all of the second half with only 14 men after Pierre Bourgarit was given his marching orders just before halftime.
The hooker performed a sickening eye gouge on World Cup star Tom Curry, leaving the referee with no choice but to produce the red card. Coach Ronan O'Gara certainly didn't seemed pleased.
"That's madness of a Vahaamahina level."
Absolutely stupid, and infuriatingly dangerous 😡
La Rochelle hooker Pierre Bourgarit is sent off for foul play in an altercation he had nothing to do with.
No place for that on a rugby pitch. Goodbye.#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/S9x2qbN2jc
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) November 24, 2019
The authorities are likely to come down hard on the Frenchman for this one, with any eye gouging incident being severely punished. A lot of work has been done to remove this from the sport and it has become less prevalent in recent years.
La Rochelle now look all but buried in their pool having also shipped a heavy defeat to Exeter last weekend.