Sports  Rugby: Toulouse-La Rochelle, the French summit on the roof of Europe

Sports Rugby: Toulouse-La Rochelle, the French summit on the roof of Europe

Twickenham (UK) – One can make history, the other opens his European record: Toulouse and La Rochelle, the current two best French clubs, meet in the 100% French ‘Champions Cup’ final on Saturday (5:45 pm) in Twickenham.

About 10,000 spectators are expected to attend at the English Rugby Temple, the sixth European Cup final between two teams in the French championship, the first since Toulon won in 2015 against Clermont.

RCT was crowned for the third time in a row and no French club has been in existence since then. Not even a four-time winner from Toulouse, he returned to the final for the first time since 2010.

One thing is for sure on Saturday, the trophy will return to France. But who will win? Toulouse, the leader of the top 14 in the flashy attacking game, or the runner-up in La Rochelle in the group of strikers known for their toughness?

Toulouse coach Ugo Mola, who was lured by this “super healthy” club with whom he sees competition revolving around him, said: “Frankly, if it wasn’t for us (in the final), I would be a La Rochelle supporter.” Years at the top of French rugby.

– Score a goal for Toulouse –

When it comes to winners, Stade Toulouse is giant before his opponent. On Saturday, he is seeking a fifth title to hold the record alone, which he has so far shared with the Irishman from Leinster. To this should be added twenty Brennus Shields, the last of which are in 2019.

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Stade Rochelle, for its part, has never been crowned champion of France and has not reached this level in the “Champions Cup” before this year. He definitely played a continental final but in the European challenge, the “little” European Cup, he lost in 2019 to Clermont.

Despite everything, yellow and black have continued to climb up the ranks since their rise to the first division seven years ago. They reached the European Cup quarter-finals 2018, they reached the semi-finals of the French Championship in 2017 and 2019 … they just need their first major title.

“We know that we have taken a step against Leinster (in the semi-finals), but it is not an end in itself (…) We are 80 minutes away from being able to change the situation in many things for the sake of this club,” stressed Captain Roman Sazzi. Friday.

On closer examination, La Rochelle’s team is not even beginner. Managed by two coaches who have already won the European Cup multiple times, New Zealander Juno Gibbs, as a member of Leinster’s team, and Irish Ronan Ojara as a Monster player.

The huge Australian second row Will Skelton (2.03m, 125kg) also lifted the trophy with the Saracens. Full-back Brice Dulin, who started again with XV in France, lost the final match with Racing 92 against those same Sarries (2016).

How about New Zealand N.8 Victor Vito, two-time world champion with the All Blacks (2011, 2015)?

– Big absentee dealer –

This French French summit is full of exciting duels on all levels! Vito will find his ex-Blacks partner Jerome Kaino. Skelton’s “bulldozer” will grapple with the Australian Twin Towers, twins Rory and Richie Arnold (2.08 m). There will also be a Springboks suite duel between Dillyn Leyds and Cheslin Kolbe.

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Doolin will face former Blues CEO, Maxime Midard. And a group of French foreigners will be on the lawn, too.

Toulouse side: Antoine Dupont-Roman Ntamac joint, left column Cyril Bale or wing François Croce. Rochelle side: In addition to Alldritt and Dulin, Hooker Pierre Bourgaret, Kevin Gordon perfume or even standing column with unusual proportions Oweni Otonio (1.96 m, 145 kg).

In this position, Stade Toulouse has a lot to answer with All Black Charlie Faumuina (1.85m, 130kg). But the absence of 15th (pregnant) French courtesan Julian Marchand, who was denied the final due to an interference deemed dangerous in the half against Bordeaux Biggles, threatens to weaken the team.

Summoned regularly by coach Fabien Galthié, Peato Mauvaka faces the difficult task of replacing the adorable ball scraper.

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