The Kings of Europe will be crowned this weekend after Toulouse and La Rochelle square off in the Champions Cup final.
This French derby promises to be an epic affair with the two duking it out to finish top of the standings, with Toulouse one point clear of second-placed La Rochelle.
Toulouse v La Rochelle
Saturday 22 May
To Win (80 Mins)
La Rochelle 29/20
The reigning Top 14 Champions will travel across to England with one of the most talented sides in European Rugby. Cheslin Kolbe and Antonie Dupont are crown jewels in a side that could conceivably win the lot this season.
Toulouse don’t just have a star-studded backline. Oh no. Their forwards can mix it up with the best, with their pack featuring the likes of Jerome Kaino, Julian Marchard and Joe Tekori.
Looking at Toulouse’s play-off run now, and it’s a rather impressive one with the current French Top 14 log-leaders beating Munster 33-40 in the Round of 16, Clermont 12-21 in the Quarters and Bordeaux Begles 21-9 in the semi-finals.
Like Toulouse, La Rochelle are enjoying a fantastic season as they currently lie second on the Top 14 table and are only a point behind the log-leaders who just happen to be Toulouse. Add a Champions Cup final into this solid domestic run and you can see why La Rochelle fans are smiling from air to ear.
One thing is for sure, Toulouse have the more star-studded side but that doesn’t mean La Rochelle lack for talent, with Les Marinars boasting the likes of Reece Dullin and Dillyn Leyds in their back three, while they have an all Kiwi halves pairing of TJ Kerr-Barlow and Ihia West directing the show.
They also have man-mountain Will Skelton in their second row and a very solid all-French front row.
La Rochelle will be up against recent history here having only won one of the last five games between the sides. As this is a European final, however, head-to-head historical stats tend to count for little.
Verdict: Toulouse 6/10
I reckon Toulouse will take this one. They got players who know how to get over the line on the big occasion. However, I do not think it’ll be by much. That is why I would be willing to back in plus handicap in excess of five points.