The weekend of the European final begins on Friday with a fascinating all-French meeting between Lyon and Toulon at the Stade Vélodrome.
After impressively overcoming the Vos and Saracens in their respective semifinals, both sides now have only one match to win silver.
For Toulon, it’s quite a turnaround, as they recovered from a possible relegation battle and stayed seventh in the Top 14, three points behind La Rochelle. Lyon is one place and one point behind its final rivals, with the battle for the league playoffs boiling under this match.
The European weekend begins
However, both teams will focus exclusively on Europe this week, which should be the perfect starter for Saturday’s main course in Marseille.
Of course, Toulon is no stranger to European finals, as Jonny Wilkinson and Matt Giteau won the main prize earlier in their days of glory. However, if they won, they would only become the fifth party to win the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup, after Bath, Northampton, Leinster and Wasps.
Past meetings in this competition show that Toulon can boast much better records with six wins out of six, but Lyon is definitely on the rise.
“We’re not focusing on history – it’s more about taking each game the way it comes. We haven’t won anything yet. Fortunately, we secured this place in the final, but we still have a way to win this cup, “said Lyon lock Joel Kpoku before the match for the EPCR website, while the ex-Saracen flourished in France.
Meanwhile, Toulon’s back row Charles Ollivon admits that the meeting has been in their sights for some time and would like to receive the award.
“For weeks, they were all involved, taking on their responsibilities and pulling the group up.” We had his competition in the viewfinder, but we haven’t won anything yet, “he said as he stood next to Sergio Parisse and Cornell du Preez.
Elsewhere, it’s a welcome addition to Toulon as Springbok’s wing Cheslin Kolbe returns to the back line as Julien Hériteau arrives at number 13.
For Lyon, they are also reinforced by the return, as Jordan Taufua comes to the side with number eight to take the team captain in his pursuit of silver.
Forecast: Toulon at 5
Lyon: 15 Toby Arnold, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Pierre-Louis Barassi, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Davit Niniashvili, 10 Leo Berdeu, 9 Baptiste Couilloud, 8 Jordan Taufua (c), 7 Patrick Sobela, 6 Dylanu Taulan, 6 Dylan Taretina Joel Kpoku , 3 Demba Bamba, 2 Guillaume Marchand, 1 Sébastien Taofifenua
Refunds: 16 Mickael Ivaldi, 17 Hamza Kaabèche, 18 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Colby Fainga’a, 23 Xavier Mignot
Toulon: 15 Aymeric Luc, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Julien Hériteau, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Gabin Villière, 10 Louis Carbonel, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Charles Ollivon (c), 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Brian uese, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros
Refunds: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Bruce Devaux, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Swan Rebbadj, 20 Mathieu Smaili, 21 Julien Blanc, 22 Jiuta Wainiqolo, 23 Facundo Isa
Date: Friday, May 27
Place: Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Excavation: 9:00 PM local time (20:00 BST, 19:00 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Judge: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Ian Tempest (England)
READ MORE: Romain Ntamack: France has committed itself to Toulouse