Champions Cup – Meafou, Ahki, Marchand… The triumph left its mark for Toulouse

Champions Cup – Meafou, Ahki, Marchand… The triumph left its mark for Toulouse
Champions Cup – Meafou, Ahki, Marchand… The triumph left its mark for Toulouse

The enormous physical intensity reached during the Champions Cup final, won against Leinster on Saturday, took its toll in the Toulouse camp, where several important players left due to injury. This could obviously have consequences for the future.

It was therefore at the end of a huge fight that Stade Toulouse managed to win its sixth star on Saturday in London, by beating its bete noire Leinster in the Champions Cup final. Because, to win the right to lift the trophy on the lawn of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Ugo Mola’s men had to dig into their reserves and go to their limits. Already, during regulation time where, long deprived of ammunition, they delivered an incredible performance in defense and in the ground game, with a record number of tackles and scratched balls. It must be said that the match itself reached peaks of physical intensity and that the teams were only able to decide after extra time. Obviously, it left its mark. A lot, in this case, in the Toulouse camp. “The bodies are bruised”confided opener Romain Ntamack.

Several players were injured during the match, which several times forced the staff to adapt and reshape their team composition, which was even turned upside down at the end of the match. The first blow came with the premature exit of three-quarter center Pita Ahki, who quickly gave way to Santiago Chocobares. If we will surely have to wait until Wednesday or Thursday to know a more exact diagnosis, as for all the affected players given that they are logically celebrating their title at the start of the week, the New Zealander suffered from adductor muscles. It is already almost certain that he will miss the next two Top 14 meetings, against La Rochelle on Sunday evening then against Lyon. For Paul Costes, on the other hand, there is no problem, his replacement in the middle of the second period having been requested due to cramps, a problem from which a few Stadistes suffered in the final minutes.

Concern for Meafou, the second line in pain

Up front too, the staff lost men. And the case of Emmanuel Meafou was the one that worried the most over the weekend. The person concerned feared a tear in his hamstring, which would mean a compromised end to the season. But you have to wait until the results of the exams to have a more precise idea. The second line sector will in any case suffer in the coming weeks. Indeed, after his red card in the final, Richie Arnold is automatically suspended and risks a more or less heavy sanction. And Joshua Brennan, who entered during the match, also had to come out to undergo a concussion protocol. He did not return to the pitch and it is difficult to imagine him applying for the Maritimes reception. Knowing that Clément Vergé suffered from a bruised shoulder after the victory in Montpellier.

Nevertheless, the news could be reassuring regarding Julien Marchand. During the second extra time, he felt his ankle crack, as his manager Ugo Mola indicated at a press conference, which forced him to be replaced by Peato Mauvaka. But, after the match, the international hooker could set foot on the ground normally and was rather optimistic. If the management will obviously not take any risks with him, it would be a relief to count on his presence for the final phases of Top 14. Finally, still in the good news department, the third row Alban Placines – injured in a knee in February last – should resume collective training shortly. And, if Stade Toulouse wants to dream of a new double, it will need freshness.

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