THERE is no disgrace in this score-line against one of the top teams in France, who were last season’s Champions Cup finalists, but Glasgow Warriors will feel like they have let a golden opportunity to pick up a huge win on the road slip through their fingers. 

In the final reckoning, La Rochelle deserved their narrow victory on the back of a superior set-piece and the clinical way they managed to disrupt Glasgow’s breakdown without upsetting referee Matthew Carley, but the visitors had opportunities here and paid a heavy price for lapses in accuracy at key moments. 

“They’re one of the top sides in Europe as they proved last season, and they’re definitely the best attacking side we’ve played this season,” reflected assistant coach Kenny Murray. 

“To be within a try and a chance to draw the game at the end is a positive. But the lads are obviously a wee bit disappointed we haven’t come away with more than just the losing bonus-point.  

“We started the match really well and got into the lead, only to let them back in. We know the areas that we need to improve going forward, and we’ll look to address those this week.” 

Next up is Exeter Chiefs – the 2020 European Champions – at home this coming Saturday, meaning a return to their old stomping ground for Stuart Hogg and Jonny Gray. The cut-throat nature of this competition means that this is now a must-win match, against a team which will be full of confidence having thumped Montpellier 42-6 – with Gray scoring a hat-trick – on Saturday. 

Glasgow set the pace early on in this match and raced into 6-0 lead thanks to two Ross Thompson penalties. It could have been 9-0 had the stand-off not pushed his third shot at goal to the left of the posts. 

Warriors also had a chance to claim the first try of the contest during this bright period, and Scott Cummings will look back and wonder whether he should have fed Kyle Steyn on his outside rather than go it alone when he found himself in a two-on-one position following an impressive passage of play from the visitors. 

Having spent almost all of the first quarter on the back foot, La Rochelle flashed their teeth with a sweeping attack from deep which required an excellent cover-tackle from Sam Johnson on Victor Vito to snuff out the immediate threat. 

La Rochelle finally got off the mark when strong running from Brice Dulin, Gregory Alldritt and Jonathan Danty pushed Warriors into conceding an offside penalty. The ball was kicked to the corner, and Reda Wardi claimed the try after a powerful line-out drive.  

Ihaia West added the conversion then kicked a penalty following a collapsed scrum by Warriors which opened up a four-point lead for the hosts at the break. 

West then had an opportunity to extend La Rochelle's lead six minutes into the second half when Sione Tuipulotu was penalised for holding onto the ball on the deck, but his shot at goal floated right of the kindling. 

Taking full advantage of this reprieve, Warriors marched up-field, and were rewarded for the decision to turn down three east points from a penalty when Ali Price sent a delicate chip into the in-goal area and Steyn did well to gather then wrestle the ball to the deck under serious pressure, with Thompson adding the conversion. 

Stung by that set-back, La Rochelle roared back into it, and Darge was sent to the sin-bin for collapsing a maul as it accelerated towards the Warriors try-line, with the visitors lucky to not also concede a penalty try. 

The home side then produced a pulsating passage of play which eventually led to Eneriko Buliruarua going over for an excellent try on the right, which West converted. 

West kicked three more points after Thompson was penalised for holding-on, but La Rochelle were not out of sight yet. 

However, every time Warriors got into a promising position, they either coughed up possession at the breakdown, threw a loose pass or kicked too deep, which meant that they didn't manage to put their opponents under serious pressure. 

La Rochelle: B Dulin (T Berjon 74); J Favre, J Sinzelle, J Danty, A Retiere (E Buliruarua 24); I West, T Kerr-Barlow; R Wardi (D Priso 69), P Bourgarit, U Atonio (R Herrera 69), R Sazy, W Skelton, P Boudehent (T Lavault 55), V Vito, G Alldritt. 

Glasgow Warriors: J McKay; K Steyn, S Tuipulotu, S Johnson, C Forbes; R Thompson, A Price© (G Horne 70); O Kebble (J Bhatti 41), G Turner (J Matthews 59), Z Fagerson ( E Pieretto 67), S Cummings (L Bean 67), R Gray (R Harley 62), M Fagerson (A Miller 75), R Darge, J Dempsey. 

Referee: Matthew Carley (England) 

Scorers – La Rochelle: Tries: Wardi, Buliruarua; Con: West 2; Pen: West 2. 

Glasgow Warriors: Try: Steyn; Con: Thompson; Pen: Thompson 2. 

Scoring sequence (La Rochelle first): 0-3; 0-6; 5-6; 7-6; 10-6 (h-t) 10-11; 10-13; 15-13; 17-13; 20-13.