Match Preview: La Rochelle

Match Preview: La Rochelle

Get the latest ahead of Saturday's European clash at BT Murrayfield as we host La Rochelle in our opening match of the 2020-21 Heineken Champions Cup.

HOW TO WATCH

The match is live on BT Sport 2 from 7.45pm ahead of an 8pm kick-off at BT Murrayfield. You can also follow the match live on BBC Radio Scotland, as well as via the club's live match centre at edinburghrugby.org.


MATCH OFFICIALS

Ref: Luke Pearce (England)

Assis Ref 1: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)

Assis Ref 2: Hollie Davidson (Scotland)

TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)


OVERALL HEAD-TO-HEAD

Played 1, Edinburgh won 0, La Rochelle won 1

One previous meeting: Edinburgh Rugby 22-32 La Rochelle, 31 March 2017, European Challenge Cup Quarter-Final


NEW TOURNAMENT FORMAT

The 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup will be competed for by 24 clubs with the eight highest-ranked representatives from the Gallagher Premiership, the Guinness PRO14 and the TOP 14 securing their places.

The clubs were divided into two pools of 12 by means of a draw and the tournament will be played over eight weekends with four rounds of matches in the pool stage followed by a knockout stage consisting of home and away quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final in Marseille on 22 May 2021.

The four highest-ranked clubs in each pool will qualify for the quarter-finals, and the clubs ranked numbers 5 to 8 in each pool will compete in the knockout stage of the Challenge Cup.

STORY OF THE MATCH

Following a season out of the competition, Edinburgh Rugby return to Heineken Champions Cup action looking to replicate a stellar last outing in the famous tournament.

The capital side's European run in 2018-19 saw them reach the Quarter-Final stages of the tournament, topping a pool that included RC Toulon, Montpellier and Newcastle Falcons.

So far, the 2020-21 campaign hasn't been plain sailing for Richard Cockerill's outfit, having secured just two Guinness PRO14 victories after seven rounds of action - leaving them second bottom of Conference B.

However, with a plethora of international stars returning for this weekend's European opener, the form book will go out the window as Edinburgh look to get their campaign started with a home win.

La Rochelle travel to the Scottish capital in fine domestic form, sitting top of the French Top 14 having won eight out of 11 fixtures so far.

Coached by former Ireland stand-off Ronan O'Gara - who was appointed to the position ahead of the 2019-20 season - the French club will be looking to bounce back from defeat in their last fixture however, having gone down 22-18 to Lyon this past weekend.

La Rochelle will be looking to better last season's performance in the tournament where they won just two group games and missed out on knockout qualification, finishing third in Pool 2 behind Glasgow Warriors and Exeter Chiefs.


LAST TIME OUT

Edinburgh Rugby have faced off against La Rochelle just once before, taking on the French club in the 2016-17 European Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals (31 March 2017).

La Rochelle travelled to BT Murrayfield that day as Top 14 leaders and withstood an Edinburgh fightback to reach the last four of the tournament, winning 22-32.

Jeremie Maurouard scored twice from early line-out drives, before Phil Burleigh arced over to reply.

Arthur Retiere raced in for a third, and created a fourth for Steeve Barry, with Ross Ford touching down for Edinburgh before the break.

Hamish Watson hauled the hosts back within a score, but Brock James' last-minute penalty settled the issue. Read the full report here and watch the highlights below.

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