Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigeria marks 500 days since kidnap of Chibok schoolgirls

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

From Sarkozy to Kim Kardashian: posed celebrity photos

Read more

THE DEBATE

The ‘You Stink’ Movement: Lebanon garbage crisis sparks new wave of protests (part 2)

Read more

THE DEBATE

The ‘You Stink’ Movement: Lebanon garbage crisis sparks new wave of protests (part 1)

Read more

FOCUS

Scandals tarnish reputation of India's pharmaceutical industry

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ten years after Katrina, New Orleans is bustling

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shock and horror after two journalists shot dead on-air

Read more

ENCORE!

Has New Orleans got its groove back?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Could this lunatic make it to the White House?'

Read more

Toulouse compound Clermont's misery with 17th title

Latest update : 2008-06-30

Stade Toulousain beat ASM Clermont-Ferrand in the French rugby league final, 26-20. Having lost last year to Stade Francais, Clermont finished at the top this season but still could not clinch the first trophy in their history.

Toulouse beat Clermont 26-20 in the final of the French rugby championship at the Stade de France here on Saturday to make up for their European Cup final defeat and condemn their opponents to nine final losses.
   
Clermont, who finished the regular season five points ahead of Toulouse and a massive 16 ahead of third-placed Stade Francais, could not impose that authority in the playoffs and have still never won the French title.
   
Toulouse meanwhile claimed their 17th domestic trophy to make up for their 16-13 defeat to Ireland's Munster in last month's European Cup final in Cardiff.
   
Toulouse co-coach Yannick Bru said afterwards: "We did not want to be the "Poulidor" of rugby in 2008. The squad deserved to be champions this year quite frankly following the efforts they have made and the injuries they have endured.
   
"In this post-World Cup season, problems had been predicted but, at the end of this marathon season, the players deserved this reward. To win a final as a player is a more selfish happiness but to win it as a coach is a different type of pleasure. I was really delighted to see the players so happy."
   
It was a match between two clubs which were far and away the best in the country this season, both adept at physically demanding yet spectacular play.
   
Toulouse got the first try through hooker William Servat in the 18th minute, converted by Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, to pull them ahead after Brock James's penalty had given Clermont an early lead.
   
However Clermont captain Aurelien Rougerie put them ahead again with a touchdown, converted by James, though a penalty from Toulouse flyhalf Elissalde meant the teams went in level at 10-10 at the break.
   
At that point it was hard to separate the sides in a bruising, combative contest but the second half was basically all one way as Toulouse put on the pressure.
   
An Elissalde penalty five minutes after the break and then a Medard try, following a move spanning fully 80 metres, plus penalties from Maleli Kunavore and Valentin Courrent put Toulouse 26-10 ahead with just over 10 minutes to go.
   
Davit Zirakashvili managed to score a try in the closing stages, converted by James, but Toulouse never looked like losing grip of the match in the final moments.
   
The clubs have already met three times before in the final -- in 1994, 1999 and 2001 -- and in this fourth meeting Toulouse kept up their unblemished record over Clermont. It was also Toulouse's first title for seven years.

Date created : 2008-06-28

COMMENT(S)