Three Times Toulon
YJA was represented at Twickenham on Saturday by Burgh School’s Gabriel. Read his report on one of the greatest ever European rugby finals.
The giants of European rugby, Toulon, took the Champions Cup final title for the third consecutive year. In an amazing game between the two French masters Toulon and Clermont, the contest was not decided until the final quarter when Australia wing Drew Mitchell’s scored a brilliant solo try.
Twickenham was host to 56,000 spectators, most of whom travelled across the waters to support their team. The clubs’ colours of yellow and blue and red and black saturated the stadium, where the noise and anticipation of this great French clash was electric.
Clermont, who took the lead within the first few minutes, were all out for their first-ever European final win, but Toulon were determined that they would fight for every inch of territory. They also had the experience of two recent finals to draw on.
After that early setback, Toulon scored a penalty from their Welsh international master kicker, Leigh Halfpenny and mounted a series of punishing attacks. It was no surprise when their powerful number centre, Basteraud, crashed over for a try just on the stroke of half time.
16-11 down at the break, Clermont were not prepared to give up the European title and threatened through the second half, putting pressure on the Toulon defence. Clermont looked to be back in the game, when their English fullback, Abendanon, counter-attacked and deftly chipped over the advancing Toulon defenders to score and set up a nail-biting finale.
But that superb Drew Mitchell try sealed the epic encounter and with the final score 24-18, Toulon were champions once more!
After the match, Halfpenny, who struck four penalties, said: ” It was a privilege to have been part of creating history. I don’t think it will sink in for a long time.”
Gabriel, Year 6