La Rochelle opened their European Champions Cup account with a 34-27 victory over Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday evening.
Tries from Hikairo Forbes, Dany Priso and a Geoffrey Dumayrou brace proved too much for Harlequins who scored through Charlie Matthews, Joe Marchant and Will Collier.
Forbes opened the scoring with a well-taken try converted by Ryan Lamb as La Rochelle took an early 7-0 lead.
Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith and Lamb then traded penalties before Matthews hit back with a converted try to level matters at 10-10 after 16 minutes.
La Rochelle’s second try came after slick interchange between centre Dumayrou and lock Jason Eaton with Dumayrou’s score converted by Lamb to make it 17-10 after 26 minutes.
Priso got La Rochelle’s third bashing over with his low body position after good build-up down the left flank from the visitors.
Harlequins hit back with a try in the 32nd minute when Marchant crosses the whitewash after a clean break from Mike Brown and good leg strength to go over from 15 metres out. Smith converted to cut the deficit to seven points at 24-17.
Five minutes after the restart, Dumayrou had his brace after Lamb sliced through the defence. Lamb converted the try he created to give the visitors a 31-17 lead.
Cynical play from Kevin Gourdon meant he saw yellow for a deliberate knockdown after 55 minutes as La Rochelle were temporarily reduced to fourteen men.
Harlequins capitalised on their numerical advantage after good interplay and hands between forwards and backs ensured Will Collier dotted down. Smith converted to make the deficit 10 at 34-24.
Smith added a penalty to late on to make it a nervous final few minutes for La Rochelle who managed to hold on for the 34-27 victory.
Tries: Matthews, Marchant, Collier
Cons: Smith 3
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Forbes, Dumayrou 2, Priso
Cons: Lamb 4
Pens: Lamb 2
Yellow Card: Gourdon