Toulouse cap fine season with Top 14 title

Date published: June 15 2019

Toulouse won their 20th domestic title in France after they edged out Clermont 24-18 to claim the Bouclier de Brennus in Paris on Saturday.

Played in front of almost 80,000 spectators at the Stade de France, the Top 14 regular-season winners were worthy victors of a tight match.

Yoann Huget went over twice while Thomas Ramos kicked 14 points, with Greig Laidlaw (15) and Camille Lopez (3) responding for Les Jaunards.

Toulouse led 11-9 at the break and would have been happy with their first-half showing, especially after going three points down early on.

Laidlaw got the ball rolling for Clermont off the tee on two minutes and there would have been concern for Toulouse head coach Ugo Mola when fly-half Ramos snubbed a penalty of his own in favour of a cross-kick which came up short. He did, however, level matters at 3-3 soon after.

Both kickers would trade a second three-pointer apiece coming up to the 20 minute mark, but from that point on it was Toulouse who took the initiative, keeping things tighter than they usually would. The try though would come from quick thinking as a free-kick from Antoine Dupont saw the ball find full-back Cheslin Kolbe’s whose pace sucked in Alivereti Raka which created room for Huget to dive over on the right wing.

However, that unconverted try and the fact Laidlaw knocked over a penalty after Kolbe was sin-binned for an early tackle gave Clermont hope.

Kolbe’s return to the field early in the second period was soon followed by a further three points from Ramos, which made it a 14-9 cushion.

Clermont did cancel that penalty out on 51 minutes after Sofiane Guitoune was caught offside, the reliable Laidlaw doing the rest for 14-12.

Toulouse though were still confident of their standing in the game and their second try arrived on 55 minutes, lovely slick handling seeing the ball moved out to Huget on the right again for the crossing. With the conversion from Ramos suddenly Le Rouge et Noir were 21-12 ahead.

Clermont did pull themselves back to within one score at 21-15, thanks to Laidlaw’s boot from long-range, keeping the final in the balance. And with Ramos and Lopez then trading a penalty apiece as the half wore on, a grandstand finish was in the offing with seven minutes left.

But there was to be no late drama in Paris as Toulouse held on comfortably to seal a remarkable 20th title and cap a hugely impressive season in style.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries: Huget 2
Con: Ramos
Pens: Ramos 4
Yellow Card: Kolbe

For Clermont:
Pens: Laidlaw 5, Lopez

Toulouse: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Sofiane Guitoune, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Maxime Médard, 10 Thomas Ramos, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 François Cros, 6 Rynhard Elstadt, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Guillaume Marchand, 17 Clement Castets, 18 Piula Faasalele, 19 Selevasio Tolofua, 20 Richie Gray, 21 Sébastien Bézy, 22 Romain Ntamack, 23 Maks van Dyk

Clermont: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 George Moala, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Judicael Cancoriet, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Etienne Falgoux
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Peceli Yato, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Charlie Cassang, 21 Tim Nanai-Williams, 22 Apisai Naqalevu, 23 Davit Zirakashvili

Referee: Jerome Garces
Assistant Referees: Pascal Gauzere, Mathieu Raynal
TMO: Eric Gauzins