Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Stade Toulouse won their 18th French championship title as they fought back to beat Montpellier 15-10 in the Top 14 final in Paris this past weekend.
The only try of the game, a brilliant solo effort, was scored by Montpellier's flying Fijian wing Tamoci Nagusa. He later let his team down slightly as he was yellow carded for an infringement, which was the first of two periods of playing for 14 men for the surprise finalists.
While Toulouse flyhalf David Skrela failed to find his feet initially, missing a few kicks at posts, he was eventually replaced by Nicolas Bezy, who did a good job of taking the points on offer in the second half.
Montpellier, who finished sixth on the points table, snuck through by squeaking past Castres 18-17, then edging Racing Metro 26-25 in the semi final. While they had a decent lead for large parts of the final, the experience of Toulouse told, and the favourites worked their way back into the match, leading by just five points come the final whistle.
"You have to make your superiority count," said coach Guy Noves.
"When David was missing his kicks I said to myself 'it's just not possible' - it was complicated. I thought at one stage it might slip away. Finally we made our domination count," he added.