European Challenge Cup: Gloucester 20-10 La Rochelle

Gloucester wing David Halaifonua goes over for a disallowed try
Gloucester wing David Halaifonua had try disallowed in the win over La Rochelle
European Challenge Cup: Pool Four
Gloucester (17) 20
Tries: Cook, Twelvetrees Cons: Laidlaw 2 Pens: Laidlaw 2
La Rochelle (3) 10
Tries: Lapeyre Cons: Audy Pens: Audy

Gloucester secured top spot in their group and a European Challenge Cup quarter-final place with victory over French side La Rochelle at Kingsholm.

Greig Laidlaw landed a penalty before converting tries from Rob Cook and Billy Twelvetrees as the hosts led 17-3 at the break.

The French side's only first-half points came from Julien Audy's boot.

Benjamin Lapeyre got La Rochelle's try after the break, only for Laidlaw to respond with a second penalty.

Despite making several changes for the European fixture after their Premiership loss to Exeter, the hosts still had six internationals in the starting line-up, including Scotland scrum-half Laidlaw, who kicked half of Gloucester's points.

Matt Kvesic, the only Cherry and Whites player included in Eddie Jones' new-look England squad on Wednesday, came off the bench in the second half.

Gloucester director of Rugby David Humphreys told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"The big thing today was getting the win and remaining unbeaten with five wins out of five and securing a home quarter final, and we've done that.

"The first half was pretty good. Going in at 17-3 was a good spot to be in but we knew La Rochelle would come out very physically in the second half, and we knew had to defend well. They had a big pack and we tried to move them around and create mis-matches individually but we didn't manage to take any other opportunities.

"Thoroughout the pool we've only secured one bonus point so far that's a disappointment because at this stage every point matters. We'll now prepare well (for the last game) and pick a team to go to Zebre and win."

Gloucester Rugby: Cook; Sharples, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Halaifonua; Burns, Laidlaw (capt); Y. Thomas, Dawidiuk, N. Thomas; Savage, Galarza; Moriarty, Rowan, Ludlow

Replacements: Lindsay, Murphy, McNulty, Latta, Stooke, Braley, McColl, Kvesic

La Rochelle: Lapeyre; Roudil, Barraque, Aguillon, Northam; Fortassin, Audy; Synaeghel, Forbes, Atonio; Lagarde, Cedaro, Kieft, Eaton, Amosa.

Replacements: Gau, Seneca, Pelo, Sazy, Gourdon, Le Bail, Holmes, Lacroix.

Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)

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