Toulouse beat 14-man La Rochelle to claim record fifth European title

11 years on from their last continental triumph, the Top 14 leaders won an intriguing contest 22-17 against their domestic title rivals, who saw Fijian international centre Levani Botia sent off after only half an hour.

In front of 10,000 fans at Twickenham, Toulouse’s Francois Cros made an early break before his team-mate Romain Ntamack kicked an impressive penalty to open the scoring.

La Rochelle’s Ihaia West soon cancelled it out, but he would miss three crucial kicks over the course of the game.

Toulouse lost lock Richie Arnold to injury inside the first 10 minutes.

Ntamack kicked a second penalty, but West’s next attempt came off a post and gave La Rochelle a five-metre scrum.

It was a fine attacking position with the yellow scrum well on top, but Botia knocked on.

The pressure of a final saw lots of errors made. Toulouse missed touch, Maxime Medard also spilled the ball and La Rochelle’s Gregory Alldritt ran into his own man.

Ntamack then kicked out on the full after the ball had been passed back into his 22.

West finally gave La Rochelle a reward for their territory as he made it 6-6.

Botia then crashed into Medard with a high tackle. He was initially sin binned for stopping Toulouse’s quick penalty after his initial tackle, but the hit on Medard was checked by referee Luke Pearce.

The television pictures showed Botia’s tackle was a clear red card offence and he was sent off.

Medard was removed for a head injury assessment soon after dropping the ball.

The red card, though, did not stop La Rochelle’s intent. They kept forcing Toulouse into giving away penalties and Toulouse lost Rynhardt Elstadt to a sin binning for playing the ball on the ground.

West and Ntamack swapped penalties again, but West’s fourth kick made it 12-9 at the break, with Medard back on the field.

West then missed the chance to extend his team’s lead when the game resumed.

Toulouse had barely fired a shot in attack, but in the 45th minute that changed. Antoine Dupont kicked to Cheslin Kolbe, who dived over in the corner.

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button