Sunday Social: La Rochelle and Toulon celebrate in style after Champions and Challenge Cup triumphs

David Skippers
Champions and Challenge Cup celebrations 2023.jpg

It is time for Planet Rugby’s Sunday Social, your quirky recap of the serious and not so serious talking points from the past week’s action.

We’re having a Champions and Challenge Cup special this week and there were wild scenes of celebration after La Rochelle and Toulon’s victories in the respective tournaments.

We begin in La Rochelle, where thousands of people watched their nail-biting Champions Cup final triumph on a big screen. A roar erupted when referee Jaco Peyper blew the final whistle.

It was a special moment for everyone associated with the Top 14 outfit when Gregory Alldritt and Romain Sazy lifted the trophy to celebrate back-to-back victories in Europe’s premier cup competition.

It was an epic encounter and emotions were running high at end of the match. Needless to say, these are memories which will last with La Rochelle’s players for the rest of their lives.

La Rochelle’s head coach, Ronan O’Gara, was caught by surprise while being interviewed by RTE after the match when some of his players drenched him with water mid-interview.

The La Rochelle party continued deep into the night and following morning. Here, the players are still celebrating at 4am on Sunday with the club’s supporters in Dublin.

It was a special moment for La Rochelle captain Alldritt when he was named as the official man of the match after the final.

Alldritt’s day got even better shortly afterwards when he walked off with the official EPCR Player of the Year award as well.

Meanwhile, on Friday, Toulon started the French celebrations when they got the better of Glasgow Warriors in the Challenge Cup final.

It was a special occasion for Toulon’s Springbok flyer, Cheslin Kolbe, whose emotions got the better of him after he walked off with the official man-of-the-match award.

Afterwards, Kolbe summed up what the victory meant to him and his family with this tweet.

Toulon’s victory also had special meaning for former France centre Mathieu Bastareaud, who announced on Friday that he is retiring at the end of the 2022/23 season.

The Toulon players and backroom staff received a heroes’ welcome when they returned home with the trophy.

After winning the Champions Cup with La Rochelle last year, front-row Dany Priso joined Toulon. He couldn’t hide his delight after winning another European trophy with his new club.

And finally, Toulon’s victory was also a momentous one or veteran number eight Sergio Parisse, who is summed perfectly in this tweet from the Ball Carrier guys.

READ MORE: Champions Cup: Gregory Alldritt says James Ryan ‘didn’t respect’ him before the final