Yellow fever grips fans in La Rochelle as thousands turn out to celebrate second successive Champions Cup win with an open-top bus parade, after French side beat Leinster in dramatic final

There was deja vu in La Rochelle on Sunday as locals thronged the streets around the town’s old port to acclaim their conquering team — who brought back the Champions Cup for a second successive year.

Ronan O’Gara and his Rochelais squad embarked on an open-top bus ride as tens of thousands of fans greeted them with a sea of yellow flags and celebratory chants, following the 27-26 victory over Leinster in Dublin.

But the welcome had begun several hours earlier. Having landed on a charter flight at 3.45am, they were shocked to discover around 2,000 fans waiting to launch a party, with music and flares.

‘This city, this region is behind us,’ said France centre Jonathan Danty, who scored the try which ignited his side’s comeback from a 17-0 deficit. ‘La Rochelle is really a family.’

Captain and France No 8 Gregory Alldritt added: ‘It was crazy in Marseille (last year). I thought I had reached a peak of emotion, but it never stops. I hope we’ll ride the wave and enjoy it now.’

After the party, it’s back to business. La Rochelle have their sights on a Double as they gear up for the Top 14 league play-offs.

La Rochelle were crowned the 2023 European Champions Cup winners after they defeated Leinster in a thrilling game at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin

They were welcomed home by masses of fans as they paraded the trophy through the streets on an open top bus

Ronan O’Gara has now guided the club to back-to-back European titles but could move to take on the Ireland job when the opportunity comes available

There were jubilant scenes in the town as the players hoisted the trophy for their fans

Thousands of supporters brought lined the streets with flags creating a sea of yellow

Flares and yellow smoke were also scene among the celebrating masses as the coach arrived

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