Raymond Rhule and Dillyn Leyds both got on the scoresheet as La Rochelle beat the Sale Sharks 45-21 in the Champions Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
Golden Rhule: Rhule has looked a transformed player since arriving at Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle side. The Springbok emphasised his renewal with a fantastic performance against Sale, scoring a quickfire second-half brace, while he also picked up a try assist with a wonderful pass on his inside. Rhule’s first try came from a brilliant line and dummy pass, while his second came after chasing a kick and toeing through the ball, before winning the race to dot it down. In total, he made 65 metres from six carries and also contributed defensively with seven tackles.
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Power pack: As fantastic as La Rochelle’s backs were, it should also be mentioned that they completely overpowered the Springbok-enforced Sale pack. The likes of Akker van der Merwe and the Du Preez twins were both very subdued, as La Rochelle dominated the scrum and breakdown.
Gameflow: It was an evenly matched start as both sides made good inroads and were tied at 6-6 after the opening 30 minutes. However, La Rochelle threatened to pull away when France No 8 Gregory Aldritt’s try was closely followed by Dillyn Leyds going over after the Springbok sneakily knocked down a pass from Faf de Klerk and sprinted clear to score. La Rochelle were 18-16 up at the break. The second half was very much the Raymond Rhule show as he completed his brace before picking up an assist.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) April 10, 2021
Photo: Lionel Hahn/Getty Images