La Rochelle scored six tries in a dominant display to defeat Sale Sharks 45-21 and secure a spot in the Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals for the first time.
The hosts pulled away in the early stages of the second half to secure their maiden spot in the last four, having led 18-16 at the break.
The opening half-hour saw the two sides trade a pair of three-pointers through Ihaia West and AJ MacGinty, before La Rochelle grabbed the opening try through Gregory Alldritt.
It came from West who kicked wide left with advantage being played and found the former All Black Victor Vito who spun away and releases Alldritt for a beautiful score.
MacGinty slotted over a penalty to cut the gap but Dillyn Leyds soon scored a try to again stretch the lead out to nine before Sale hit back on half-time.
It was delightful work from Byron McGuigan who beat his man on the outside, stepped back inside and found Sam James who could stroll over and score a pivotal five-pointer.
La Rochelle took full control at the start of the second half, with Raymond Rhule scoring a brace of tries to nudge the hosts’ lead out to 14 points.
Rhule then turned provider with a wonderful run and pass inside to Geoffrey Doumayrou who would escape the final man and score at the posts to push La Rochelle further in front.
The centre then added his second of the afternoon as Leyds found Doumayrou after a nice line break and he sprinted all the way to the line ahead of a tiring Sale defence.
Byron McGuigan scored a consolation try for Sale with two minutes to play but it is the French side who take their spot in next month’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals.