Arthur Retiere scores for La Rochelle just off the TMO despite a tackle by Chris Harris.
|Gloucester (13) 16|
|Give it a try: Ackerman Con: Barton’s Pens: Barton 3|
|La Rochelle (15) 27|
|Give it a try: Leydes, Retier Con: Western Pen: West 2, Plisson 3|
Gloucester’s Champions Cup campaign ended with La Rochelle eliminating them in the last 16 with a brilliant performance at Kingsholm.
Dillin Lades and Arthur Retier bested the visitors in the first half, while Ruane Ackermann’s strike from close range kept Gloucester in the game.
La Rochelle tightened up the game and tightened the screw by Ihaia West and Jules Plisson.
Sale or the Scarlets will be La Rochelle’s final opponents next weekend.
Gloucester carved by French high flyers
Kevin Gourdon played a crucial role in La Rochelle’s first try.
Gloucester went into the break just two points ahead of their French visitors and were able to gain a little distance.
La Rochelle, second in the Top 14, faced a threat in the first half. The skilful hands and quick feet of the visitors made them a constant danger.
Gloucester struggled to intercept the danger at the line of scrimmage and fell behind when former Saracens second row Will Skelton directed a dump to Lades, who ran through.
The Retiere winger scored from a corner after being released by basketball player Levani Botia and Raymond Rhule, but his goal was disallowed for premature offside.
The Cherry and White got back into the fray with Ackermann’s eighth goal, but their backlash didn’t last into the second half.
With captain Lewis Ludlam’s yellow card and Charlie Sharples’ injury, Gloucester’s belief seeped in.
West and Plisson, who came on in the second half, gave the French the lead with a series of penalties and field advantages.
The upcoming quarter-final at home against La Rochelle, who celebrated their first win in the Champions Cup round of 16, is a worrying test for all.
Distance from Barton town centre to 10
Barton took the opportunity at the age of nine to join Cheltenham Town’s academy to focus more on rugby than football.
Following the mid-season departure of Danny Cipriani and the ankle injury to Lloyd Evans, George Barton, a fly-half in his 20s, has been promoted.
His first-team debut ended in a 55-10 defeat at Lyon in December, and he again faced a steep learning curve.
The England under-20 international missed two free kicks, was fooled defensively by a corner kick from Ayah West and was surprised by Victor Vito’s huge shot.
But he never shied away from contact or responsibility and was perfect.
Scotland international Adam Hastings, who joins from Glasgow this summer, is expected to replace Barton and give the young player a chance to develop in quiet games.
Gloucester: Carreras, Sharples, Harris, Atkinson, May, Barton, Heinz, Rapava Ruskin, Walker, Balmain, Slater, Alemanno, Reed, Ludlow, Ackermann.
Substitutes : Twelvetrees for Sharples (47), Chapman for Heinz (62), Craig for Alemanno (62), Clark for Reed (38), Clement for Ackerman (70). Not used: Sosino, Seville, Ford-Robinson.
Shin Bin: Ludlow (48)
La Rochelle: Leydes, Retire, Roulet, Botia, Favre, West, Kerr Barlow, Priso, Bosch, Joly, Sazi, Skelton, Liebenberg, Gurdon, Vito.
Substitutes : Burgarit, Vardy, Atonio, Lavaux, Aldrit, Berjon, Plisson, Dumairou.
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