Toulouse vs La Rochelle
This is the repeat of the Champions Cup final but this time round La Rochelle seem to have the edge as Toulouse’s playmaker Romain Ntamack has been ruled out with concussion. La Rochelle will want revenge and they certainly have the team to get the win. They have a formidable power packed forwards led by the irrepressible Victor Vito. He may not be the official captain but the team gels around the All Black World Cup winner. The battle up front will be fierce and the team that can lay the platform for their backs will come out on top in this match. La Rochelle will be looking for their first title while Toulouse will be gunning for their 21st title. This experience of finals rugby could tilt the balance to Toulouse. They have two of the best wingers in Cheslin Kolbe and Matthis Lebel who are deadly finishers. Kolbe was rather quiet in the semifinal and seldom has two quiet games so expect to see him back to his dangerous best. La Rochelle seems to have the edge in the forwards and have the massive Will Skelton in their ranks. He is arguably the form forward in European rugby this season and Toulouse will need to chop him early before he off loads. The battle between the halfbacks will be interesting as Toulouse have lost their star Ntamack but have a very able replacement in Zack Holmes. The player that La Rochelle will need to watch closest is Anton Dupont and he can create magic in a split second. His always in the right place at the right time and his sniping around the rucks and mauls always cause problems for opposition defenses.
TIP: Toulouse will need to front up at scrum time because they were dominated by La Rochelle in the Champions Cup. Their props Charlie Faumuina are Cyril Baille need to call on all their experience to counter the La Rochelle scrum. The La Rochelle pack is laden with international players and if they can get an advantage then they have the most potent back three of Brice Dulin, Dillyn Leyds and Raymond Rhule to score the tries. Their South African wingers are in great form so Toulouse must avoid giving them space otherwise they will have a field day. The bookies have La Rochelle as slight favourites but I disagree with this and I’m tipping Toulouse to win a tight encounter. The best odds on the Toulouse upset victory are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 2.10, Playabets 2.11 and Sunbet 2.00
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Toulouse vs La Rochelle
- In the last five matches between the sides there have been four wins for Toulouse and just one for La Rochelle.
- La Rochelle last beat Toulouse in 2019.
- Toulouse has only ever lost one home game against La Rochelle and that was back in 2018.
Latest results for both teams
The Blues won their last match against the Reds 31-24 while the Force lost their last match against the Crusaders 29-21.
The desire of La Rochelle to claim their first ever league title will mean that they come out firing in this match. This is generally a good thing but they will need to control their aggression. The Champion Cup final was an example of over aggression costing them as they had a player sent off. This could be the match that we see the best of Toulouse’s exceptional attackers Dupont and Kolbe. They have been usually quiet in recent weeks but they are big game players and they could be the difference between the sides. La Rochelle will once again look to their big men to dominate the contest but if Toulouse can match them or gain an advantage then they will win this match. I predict Toulouse to win a tight contest by 4 points.
- Probable Starting XVs
15 Maxime Médard, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Juan Cruz Mallía, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Matthis Lebel, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Antoine Dupont (captain), 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Francois Cros, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Richie Arnold, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille.
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 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Grégory Alldritt, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Romain Sazy (captain), 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Dany Priso.
Odds for this bet
The best odds on the Toulouse victory are as follows:
Odds comparison on the Toulouse handicap:
The complete odds on the Toulouse handicap:
Worldsportsbetting (+1.5) 1.90
Sunbet (+1.5) 1.80
Playabets (+0.5) 1.80
Predictions and Odds in details
The Toulouse team also have an All Black WC winner in Jerome Kaino and his battle with his countrymen Vito will be a great contest. Both these players drive their team forward in both attack and defence. The match could very well come down to the attack of Toulouse versus the defence of La Rochelle. They have been brilliant on defence and the Toulouse attacking stars will need to be at their best to penetrate the defensive wall. The bench of La Rochelle seem to have the edge so Toulouse will need to build a lead before the last quarter as La Rochelle are at their strongest during this period. The Holmes – Dupont combination must find a way to unleash the backline as I believe this is the key to a Toulouse victory. There are great odds on the Toulouse victory and also decent odds on the Toulouse handicap. I expect this match to be very close and the best odds on the Toulouse handicap is as follows: Worldsportsbetting (+1.5) 1.90, Sunbet (+1.5) 1.80 and Playabets (+0.5) 1.80
Sports crazy fan that follows all major sport but the game with the oval ball is my real passion. Was an age level rugby coach and a huge supporter of the Springboks and diehard Liverpool man. I’m an experienced punter and sports writer whose predictions/tips are sure to stir up the emotions. I love the occasional wager on the underdog.