La Rochelle vs Toulouse

It’s that time of the year when the rugby world will be watching the final of the biggest club competition in the world. This time round it’s an all French affair being played at Twickenham. The surprise package of the tournament has been La Rochelle and kudos to them for making it to the final and they easily overcame four time champion Leinster in the semifinal. The other finalist Toulouse is no stranger to the final having won the title four times themselves. They are chasing an unprecedented fifth title and it will take a brave man to bet against them achieving it. The teams are quite well matched and both possess immense power upfront with devastating runners in the backline. La Rochelle are the off load kings but in the semifinal they showed they have brute strength in their ranks. The man that did the damage on that day was Will Skelton and Toulouse will do well to keep him quite. It’s no co-incidence that both teams have All Blacks at number eight and they dictate the style of play from the base of the scrum. Jerome Kaino and Victor Vito may be moving on in years but they are still lynch pins of their teams. The Toulouse team has the best halfback pairing in Europe with Anton Dupont and Romain Ntamack although we haven’t seen the best of them so far and the final will be the fitting time for them to show off their best. The role of Ronan O’Gara as head coach of La Rochelle can’t be spoken enough of as he has transformed a mediocre team into arguably the best team in Europe. They don’t seem to have any glaring weaknesses although their lack of European experience could count against them in the end.

TIP: Both these teams have attack engrained in their DNA but will they be willing to play risky rugby in the Champions Cup final. The simple answer should be no but these teams only know one way so we should brace ourselves for an exciting final. We all know that these teams are loaded with international superstars but the semi-finals showed the lesser name players like Will Skelton and Pita Ahki were the stars for their respective teams. Some would say that too attention is on the so called big players that maybe open up space for others. The greater experience and depth of Toulouse makes me believe that they will edge this contest. The bookies have Toulouse as slight favourites and I agree with that call. The best odds on the Toulouse victory are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.62, Playabets 1.61 and Sunbet 1.60

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

La Rochelle vs Toulouse

  • In the last eight meetings between this team there has just been one La Rochelle victory.
  • This is the first meeting between the teams in a European competition.
  • The last two matches between them have been won by Toulouse.

Latest results for both teams

La Rochelle won their last match against Agen 59-0 while Toulouse lost their last match against Bayonne 28-32

PREDICTION

This match could come down to one moment of brilliance that wins it for either team as both sides are packed with game breakers. The Toulouse side has the world’s best number 9 in Anton Dupont and arguably the best winger in Cheslin Kolbe but the hard work will all start with the forwards. I would say that Toulouse edge it in the forwards especially with their bench strength as they can call on players like Joe Tekori and Rynhardt Elstadt who can be most dangerous against a tired defence. The factor that makes me believe that Toulouse will win this match is the sheer number of X factor players that they have. I predict Toulouse to win by 6 points.

  • Probable Starting XVs

La Rochelle

15 Brice Dulin, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Levani Botia, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Wiaan Liebenberg, 6 Grégory Alldritt, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Romain Sazy (captain), 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Reda Wardi.

Toulouse

15 Maxime Médard, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Zack Holmes, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Matthis Lebel, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Francois Cros, 6 Alban Placines, 5 Richie Arnold, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Julien Marchand (captain), 1 Cyril Baille.

Odds for this bet

The best odds on the Toulouse victory are as follows.

Worldsportsbetting 1.62

Playabets 1.61

Sunbet 1.60

Odds comparison on a Toulouse handicap victory

The complete odds on the Toulouse handicap victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting (-3.5) 1.90

Playabets (-2.5) 1.80

Sunbet (-2.5) 1.82

Predictions and Odds in details

I know Toulouse have made it to the final but we still haven’t seen them at their very best. The reason may be that Romain Ntamack had just returned from a long term injury and wasn’t at his best but now after playing a few games I feel that the final is the perfect time for Toulouse to cut loose. The La Rochelle side use their impressive and huge forward pack to dominate teams then unleash their backline that has stars like Raymond Rhule and Brice Dulin. This tactic worked great against Leinster but won’t work against Toulouse as they have a monster pack themselves. I think the pressure of the final may be too much for La Rochelle therefore I suggest Toulouse to cover the handicap and win their fifth Champions Cup title. The best odds on the Toulouse handicap victory are as follows: Worldsportsbetting (-3.5) 1.90, Playabets (-2.5) 1.80 and Sunbet (-2.5) 1.82

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