As the rugby world moves towards Test season and domestic finals up north, it already feels like the Heineken Cup final was a long time ago. This excellent montage from Sky Sports should form as some closure on what was another great tournament.
While the 19th and final tournament came to a much hyped about crescendo at the Millennium Stadium, defending champs Toulon were ultimately too good. Jonny Wilkinson went out with a high (Top 14 final pending), and Matt Giteau and Juan Smith scored memorable tries.
The video in this post was shown as Sky Sports’ closing montage post match on Saturday, and touches on a few of the 19 seasons that produced some highly memorable moments.
Quick facts from this season’s fascinating Heineken Cup:
- South African wing, Bryan Habana, has joined an exclusive club of four players who have won the treble of World Cup, Heineken Cup and Super Rugby titles.  The others are Brad Thorn, Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw, Rod Kafer and Ali Williams.
- Jonny Wilkinson topped the points scoring charts for the 2013/14 season with 113.
- Toulon’s triumph made it seven victories for French clubs in the tournament’s 19 seasons. Both England and Ireland have six wins apiece.
- Juan Smith, who scored a crucial second-half try at the Millennium Stadium, was the season’s leading tackler with 88 (8 missed). Kelly Brown was second with 87 tackles, 0 missed.
- Saracens’ No 8 Billy Vunipola led the statistical charts in most carries (110) and in defenders beaten (28) categories. Schalk Brits was second in carries with 94 carries, while Louis Picamoles equalled Vunipola’s 28 defenders beaten, but did that in just 7 matches (Vunipola was in 9).
- Chris Ashton was streaks ahead for most tries scored in the tournament with 11, with teammate and namesake Chris Wyles joint second with Naipolioni Nalaga on 5.
- Steffon Armitage, who was awarded ERC European Player of the Year 2014, led the turnover stats with 19 in 9 games. Next best was Justin Tipuric, with 15 in 6 games.
Anything set to Green Day’s Time of Your Life is always going to be emotional. This one hits the spot as we bid farewell to the Heineken Cup, and look forward to a new tournament next season, as the European Champions Cup (title sponsor unknown!) comes into play. Enjoy.