European Challenge Cup: Bristol win 13-3 in La Rochelle to boost last eight hopes

Victory at the the Stade Marcel-Deflandre was only Bristol's second in this year's competition
Victory at the the Stade Marcel-Deflandre was only Bristol's second in this year's competition
European Rugby Challenge Cup
La Rochelle (3) 3
Tries: Cons: Pens: Retiere
Bristol (6) 13
Tries: Crane Cons: Sheedy Pens: Sheedy 2

Bristol Bears kept alive their hopes of a European Challenge Cup quarter-final place as they hung on to beat La Rochelle at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre.

Captain Jordan Crane crossed for the only try six minutes into the second half as Bristol avenged last weekend's 35-22 home defeat at Ashton Gate.

In a game of two yellow cards, Bristol led when Callum Sheedy's goal further penalised Ryan Lamb's sinbinning.

Arthur Retiere and Sheedy then swapped penalties before Crane's matchwinner.

Sheedy landed the conversion to open up a 10-point cushion. And, after some desperate defending, the visitors even survived the loss of prop Jake Woolmore with four minutes left.

What happens next?

Victory lifts the Bears to within four points of Pool Four leaders La Rochelle with two games to come - and three behind second-placed Zebre.

Bristol's next game is in Siberia on 12 January, when they take on Russian side Yenisey-STM Krasnoyarsk, the bottom side in the group - the day after La Rochelle host Italian side Zebre.

The group then winds up the following Saturday (18 January) when Zebre host the return game with La Rochelle, while Bristol host Yenisey-STM Krasnoyarsk.

Two victories over the Russians side would almost certainly earn Bristol an away quarter-final as one of the two best second-placed finishers in the five pools - and could even yet win them the pool, and give them a possible home quarter-final.

La Rochelle: Retiere; Sinzelle, Plessis-Couillaud, Aguillon, Roudil; Lamb, Barlow; Priso, Forbes, Puafisi, Sazy, Demotte, Alldritt, Boudehent, Gourdon.

Replacements: Orioli, Corbel, Boughanmi, Nailiko, Liebenberg, Bales, West, Botia.

Sin-bin: Lamb (14)

Bristol Bears: Protheroe; Pincus, O'Conor, Bedlow, Powell; Sheedy, Stirzaker; Woolmore, Malton, Thiede, Holmes, Joyce, Haining, Heenan, Crane.

Replacements: Fenton-Wells, Dawe, Armstrong, Hawkins, Graham, Uren, Eden, Daniels.

Sin-bin: Woolmore (76)

Referee: Frank Murphy.

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