They did it. Even more than redone. The double European Cup-French Championship offered to the Toulousans by beating La Rochelle in a Top 14 final while mastering skill, Friday June 25, is certainly not a novelty for the club of the pink city. The Toulouse Stadium had already performed a double performance in 1996, the year in which the European trophy was born. But it was another time, another less demanding rugby, without the English clubs that year in the continental competition. And the two finals were six months apart, the European round then taking place in early January.
Rugby: Toulouse stadium European champion after an intense fight
A taste of unfinished business
Suffice to say that for Toulouse, this first double had a slight taste of unfinished business. Since then, the club has been chasing a really meaningful repetition. In vain. The Reds and Blacks had reigned over Europe again in 2003, 2005 and 2010, but without being able to triumph in those years also on their land. Worse: it was Toulon, in 2014, with its armada of stars, who had won the day. Something to titillate Toulouse pride.
But they had to wait, the valiant Toulousains, before they could touch the Grail. The first time to rebuild their health, they who, after so many successful years, experienced the bottoming out in 2017, twelfth in the Top 14 and therefore deprived of Europe the following year, a unique snub since the creation of the continental event. An accident, without a future. Because in Toulouse, the bad times could not last. It is the reverse which is registered on the local charter: here, “We come, we win and we go! “, as the supporters sing.
Of which act. A group was rebuilt, from 2018, with a new president, Didier Lacroix, appointed a year earlier, a manager, Ugo Mola, faithful to his principles of playing in motion, and effective recruitment, with among others the twirling scrum half Antoine Dupont, the electric South African winger Cheslin Kolbe or the impressive New Zealand third row Jerome Kaino. With the support of a few young shoots trained at the club such as Romain Ntamack and Thomas Ramos, the intense collective was quick to retouch the excellence. The national title in 2019 was a good sign of the comeback.
Winning above all
This year, it is almost the same who went to get the shield of Brennus. Eleven fellows in the field against La Rochelle were already there in 2019. A well-established affair, all in demonstration against Rochelais undoubtedly lacking experience for their first Top 14 final. fault, holding the game from start to finish. So certainly, the Toulousains did not enjoy, in a part anyway wrung out by the rain in the second half.
But it is also their trademark. The Rouge et Noir often air the game, adepts of the open sea and beautiful flights, and it is no coincidence that they have the best attack this season (92 tries scored). But when the matches come in the final stages, if the situation demands it, they also know how to win without glitter. Victory, first and foremost. During their unfailing domination, they had lined up four titles between 1994 and 1997 without scoring more than one try per final. In 2011, they were champions by settling for five penalties (15-10 against Montpellier). And just one more the following year to win against Toulon (18-12). The success against La Rochelle – three penalties, two drops – therefore only continues the series. Who never ceases to lie down. History will remember that Toulouse scored a 21e title to his record out of 28 finals played. Efficiency still proven.