Kick-off: 1645, 28/05/2022
Stadium: Stade Velodrome
TV: BT Sport
Leinster have looked in formidable form during the European Rugby Champions Cup knockout rounds and are fancied to see off La Rochelle in the final.
The French outfit will be buoyed by playing at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille but that should only help to reduce the winning margin.
We’re taking 2.5 for the Irish province to prevail by 1-12 points as our initial La Rochelle vs Leinster prediction.
La Rochelle Odds
La Rochelle deserve credit for reaching back-to-back deciders, having gone down 22-17 to Toulouse in last year’s final at Twickenham.
That was the first time this progressive club had made it this far, but they were clearly inspired to come back for another try.
After safely negotiating the covid-restricted group stage, the Privateers have knocked out three fellow French teams.
Bordeaux were beaten 62-36 on aggregate over two legs and a 31-19 triumph over Montpellier then set up a semi-final clash with highly-rated Racing 92.
La Rochelle trailed 10-0 at one stage but capped off a stirring comeback when Ihaia West dived over in the corner with time running out to seal a 20-13 success.
Former Munster and Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara has a well-balanced squad boosted by southern-hemisphere imports in key areas.
They will look to keep things tight in the opening exchanges, so La Rochelle vs Leinster odds.
Leinster will seek to lift this trophy for a record-equalling fifth time, having fallen one behind Toulouse last term.
They found Connacht stubborn opponents in the first leg of their last-16 tie but romped home 56-20 in the return fixture.
English Premiership leaders Leicester were then beaten 23-14 in an impressive Welford Road performance.
Thrashing Toulouse 40-17 in the semis at Aviva Stadium in Dublin was a real statement of intent and this team just seems to be getting better and better.
Head coach Leo Cullen appeared in three winning finals as a player and was in charge for the 2018 success over Racing 92 in Bilbao.
His current side has a strong scrum and hard-working back row forwards who set the tone for a miserly defence.
Tactically astute half-backs, including the hugely experienced Johnny Sexton, provide a canny kicking game and New Zealand-born winger James Lowe adds a touch of sparkle out wide.
Overall, though, it is the relentless work ethic of an almost entirely Irish squad which invariably wears down opponents.
Avenging last season’s 32-23 semi-final loss at La Rochelle’s Stade Marcel-Deflandre is now the aim.
Lowe has scored eight tries in the play-offs so far and is an obvious choice to cross the whitewash first in our La Rochelle vs Leinster betting tips.
Racing 92 13-20 LA ROCHELLE
LEINSTER 40-17 Toulouse
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