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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Toulouse beat Biarritz to win the Heineken Cup Final

Toulouse beat Biarritz to win the Heineken Cup Final

Toulouse won an unprecedented fourth European Cup trophy as they beat French rivals Biarritz 21-19 at the Stade de France yesterday. Biarritz came close late in the game with a try through league convert Karmichael Hunt, but two drop goals and three penalties from David Skrela, along with a penalty and drop from Florian Fritz, proved the difference in the end.

The highly experienced Toulouse held on for a tense finish after Biarritz had squandered an early 9-3 lead that they probably should have built on. The win is the first for Toulouse since 2005, but their fourth in total.

Biarritz back and England international Ian Balshaw said the best team on the day won.

"I'm gutted to come that close and lose by two points. But for 60 minutes Toulouse dominated the game. We were flat, we weren't combative and we lacked dynamism. Over the 80 minutes the best team won," he said.

"We had a bit of life in us in the last 20 minutes but we were just flat. I'm disappointed for the lads and the fans who travelled up. We were just off the boil and you can't afford to be off the boil against a team like Toulouse," Balshaw added.

Former All Black Byron Kelleher, who has played for Toulouse since signing after the 2007 World Cup, was thrilled with the win. "Year after year, this competition gets tougher," said now 34 year old Kelleher.

"We're just ecstatic to come out as European champions because it really is a challenge. It's been a long, old season but a satisfactory one today."

For Karmichael Hunt, who scored the only try of the day, his stint with Biarritz and Rugby Union is now over. The League convert will now take on another massive challenge as he heads back to Australia to take up an AFL contract on the Gold Coast.

He will be the first professional player to play all three codes, a feat that has even the 23 year old himself a little bemused.

"It is a week away from when I land in Australia and meet my new team-mates and get used to a whole other game. It is all a bit too much to fathom at the moment. But my time at Biarritz has been special.

"It is a crazy adventure but one that I am happy to be on," he added.

Posted at 5:32 pm | 33 comments

Viewing 33 comments

Benson May 23, 2010 5:32 pm

Gutted that Biarritz didn't win, but congrats to Toulouse. Great champions once again.

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USA7 May 23, 2010 5:39 pm

THE GREAT JONAH LOMU AT 3:55??????

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Benson May 23, 2010 5:44 pm

Indeed it was. :)

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Anonymous May 23, 2010 6:11 pm

To bad that toulouse didn't finished one of them beautifuls action because there was a lot that are not in the video.

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Anonymous May 23, 2010 6:12 pm

Looks like it was a pretty poor final. 72 mins before any of the french flair was shown

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Anonymous May 23, 2010 6:45 pm

That what i was saying, the video doesn't reflect the match, toulouse did a lot of great and monstruous play but didn't manage to score in the end, to bad that we don't see those plays in the video

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Anonymous May 23, 2010 8:39 pm

the video doesnt show any of the real highlights!! sort it out rd

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Anonymous May 23, 2010 8:42 pm

The first year in a long time where the Amlin cup final was a classic and the Heineken not so.

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John F May 23, 2010 8:48 pm

Sorry to break the Toulouse love-in but they showed little ambition in the second half but were content to hold on to the lead. Good to win but steady on about the Toulouse flair.

I wanted Biarritz to win after actually attempting something towards the end! Nice try.

Toulouse are of course very good at grinding out results as well. Fair play to them. Heineken Cup easier to win than the top 14?

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John F May 23, 2010 8:49 pm

Yep, the Amlin final was far more exciting.

Sonny Bill Williams had a stormer but well done to Cardiff they've got a great group of players.

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Maximus May 23, 2010 9:23 pm

There were beautiful team moves from Toulouse during this final, it's a pitty everyone will only keep the kicks in mind.
How ironical to see Biarritz score the only try of the match when they didn't really showed the will to pass balls (a lot of up-and-unders) whereas Toulouse broke their defense line quite a number of times. Hat off to Biarritz's defense line for bending and never breaking.
Honestly, even if it's a biased comment since I'm more of a Toulouse fan, this win is well deserved considering the match.

The only definite bad news is that Elissalde has stopped his career.

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Luxi May 23, 2010 9:35 pm

i was there and the atmosphere at the SdF was good, lot of irish fans (thinking leinster & munster would make it)

shame we didnt see any of the toulouse initiatives, especially the one max medard butchered with a knock-on 5m out from BO tryline

also a shame toulouse didnt play running rugby at the end of the game...

for the amlin challenge cup, im a toulon fan and im gutted, the were dominating the first 46mins, but Sir Johnny Wilkinson 's back injury was a huge blow for toulon,
i just hope he recovers well

pilou pilou
parceque toulon rouge
parceque toulon noir
parceque toulon Rouge et Noir !!!

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Kearney for tests May 23, 2010 10:59 pm

That Toulouse scrum is just devastating. But how many chances did they waste with the line at their mercy?

And Maximus, why did Elissalde stop?

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Gman May 23, 2010 11:04 pm

Why would Hunt bother playing AFL? It's a rubbish sport with a low salary cap.

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Tom May 24, 2010 12:48 am

What Gman?
The AFL is rolling in money, they signed a tv contract a couple years ago for almost $800 million dollars.
Hunt will be getting literally millions of dollars for playing AFL, it's the only reason he's doing it (he'll be only adequate at AFL, you can't just suddenly be great at a game you've never player proffesionally before).
But AFL isn't short of a dollar, their next tv contract (to be negotiated in a year or two) will probly be worth about $1 billion dollars.

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Anonymous May 24, 2010 1:07 am

gay

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luke May 24, 2010 5:09 am

who watch AFL anyway apart form australian. why they sign a multi million dollar contract for that. i'm sure they are lots of wallabies fans out there though rugby union isn't as famous as the australian criket team or the AFL or the NFL. but i'm pretty sure there are lots of fans outside australia especially in asia

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Anonymous May 24, 2010 6:05 am

The AFL is one of the most popular leagues in the world, in any sport.
It's one of the highest attended leagues in the world, in anything, up there with the NFL and Premier League.
Australia is a rich country, and the AFL is the most popular tv sport, so it generates huge money.
Rugby union is tiny in comparison in Australia.

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Anonymous May 24, 2010 6:08 am

Huuu, maybe in the south emipshere but in france and europe, never heard of it, i don't even know what is this sport

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Gman May 24, 2010 6:30 am

Tom,

living in Melbourne I know AFL is big... in Melbourne. I can't see the top AFL players earning more than the top rugby players in France where there is no salary cap. But maybe I'm wrong...

Who will he play for again?

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Tom May 24, 2010 7:30 am

He's playing for the new franchise, the Gold Coast.
He will earn about the same as what he would get in France to be honest, not more. Thing is, he's already committed to the contract.
They reckon that Biaritz was willing to buy out the contract, would have cost them millions but they wanted to do it.
Supposedly Hunt said no, wanted to honor his agreement with the AFL.
He's a gimmick signing for the Gold Coast to generate publicity, because he's very popular in South East QLD.
But yes, the AFL can afford to pay him alot of money, their salary cap is the highest of any code in Australia. The cap is currently about $7,500,000.

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Anonymous May 24, 2010 7:31 am

Game was really boring. I actually started flicking between it and other channels at 60 minutes.

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Anonymous May 24, 2010 7:51 am

As the other comments have already said, bring on the Amlin highlights :)

Fantastic atmosphere from the Toulon fans, it was almost like a home gme for them, but a great performance from the Cardiff Blues, I've read a rumour that Rush is trying to get his Ulster contract overturned so he can stay with the Blues, especially with Andy Powell admitting that he's leaving for Rugby League.

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Flooz May 24, 2010 8:18 am

Great for Toulouse. they are definely the best side of europe. But the final could have offered more.
Toulouse really butchered 5 or 6 actions of try. Fortunate that Skrela was in a good day.

Amlin final was far more attractive. Sad for Toulon, they had the match in their hands til J.Wilkinson injury. All credit to Cardiff, they were more realists and showed more experience. Toulon will learn a lot with their 2 lasts matchs...

A last word on Elissade who decide to retire at 33. He was suffering a succession of injuries at his shoulder and back. A real loss for french rugby and rugby in general. Hope that RD or Guetteba are preparing a video on him..

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Anonymous May 24, 2010 8:57 am

Sonny Bill would be more at home playing for the Harlem Globetrotters, far too many exhibition style flick passes yesterday, one of which almost led directly to a try.

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Gary May 24, 2010 9:02 am

Was nice to see Ngwneya put in the try scoring pass. In years gone by maybe he would have just try to gas by on the wing but it showed a maturity to his play that was lovely to watch, being in Biaritz has done the boy good.

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Maximus May 24, 2010 9:51 am

Kearney for tests

As Flooz said, JBE had a lot of injuries recently (he played all his last games without being 100% -injured or recovering) and he apparently just felt like stopping.
People here so badly want him to stay that there already are rumours about him coaching the Toulouse backs next year but -imo- I wouldn't bet any money on this. I don't see ST firing their actual good coach and hiring JBE with no coaching experience instead. I'd rather see him coach ST U21 or something like that.

Btw, Guy Novs (ST coach) elected best European coach over the last 15 years: 8 Championship titles, 2 domestic Cups, 4 Hcups. The man deserves a Roman Triumph.

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Kearney for tests May 24, 2010 10:45 am

Then it's a sad day for rugby Maximus. I was a big fan of Elissalde. He was outstanding vs the All Blacks in RWC2007. I'm just sorry I didn't see more of him.

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guilhem May 24, 2010 9:40 pm

JBE is thought to coach the back of Toulouse next year instead of Phillipe Rouget Thomas.

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Umbingelelo May 24, 2010 11:14 pm

Booooring match - yawn-

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Duncan May 25, 2010 3:31 pm

aye, poor when a team can win and never get out of 2nd or 3rd gear. they could've really gone for it and hammered BO. Lack of ambition.

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Gman May 25, 2010 11:36 pm

I reckon Hunt will stay for a season or so and move back. Anyway, thanks for your insight Tom.

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Tom May 26, 2010 6:51 am

Gman, I reckon he'll probly go back to rugby in France too, after his AFL career, but who knows.

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