Ruthless La Rochelle hammer Bayonne, derby win for Bath


La Rochelle made it two European Challenge Cup wins out of two by hammering Top 14 rivals Bayonne 51-24, while Bath moved to the top of Pool 4 by beating local rivals Bristol and Stade Francais got up and running.

Pool 1 leaders La Rochelle ran in eight tries to claim another bonus-point triumph in an entertaining encounter at Stade Marcel Deflandre on Thursday.

La Rochelle are flying high in second spot in the Top 14 table and continued their fine start to the season, opening up a 36-10 advantage at the break to effectively seal the win.

Romain Sazy and Charles Bouldoire dotted down in the opening five minutes, with Jason Eaton, Steve Barry and Bouldoire again also going over before the break and Brock James adding 11 points from the tee.

La Rochelle showed no mercy following the interval, with further scores from Arthur Retiere, Levani Botia and Leandro Cedaro taking them past the half-century mark as three tries from Bayonne were in vain.

Bristol are still waiting for their first win of the season after they went down 22-6 at rivals Bath.

Rhys Priestland scored 17 points with the boot and Matt Banahan came up with Bath's only try late on to add insult to injury as the Premiership high-flyers came out on top at the Recreation Ground.

Stade Francais claimed their first win in Pool 5, with Jules Plisson scoring the first of their four tries in a comfortable 27-0 success over Romanian qualifiers Timisoara Saracens.