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Emmanuel Meafou: “We like our chances”

Toulouse and France international Emmanuel Meafou believes his side are ready to win the Champions Cup this season, after years of European heartbreak. 

Le Rouge et Noir last lifted the title back in 2021, but have fallen at the semi-final stages the past two seasons. This time around, however, Meafou feels his side can win.

Speaking to members of the media ahead of the final, Meafou said: “We’re a different team than we were three years ago, and we just keep getting better. We like our chances and we’re going to give it our best.”

It won’t be a walk in the park for the French champions though, as they face Leinster. The Irish juggernauts have dumped Toulouse out of the Champions Cup twice in the past two seasons, but Meafou feels his team will be better for those experiences.

“We really haven’t had a good game against Leinster,” he said. “Leinster are a quality team and we just weren’t ready for those games; but I think we’ve grown as a team. We like our chances this time and we’re going to give it our best on Saturday.”

Discipline the key

In the past two semi-finals, discipline has really cost Toulouse. Last year, Rodrigue Neti and Thomas Ramos were sent to the sin-bin, and in 2022 Romain Ntamack and Meafou himself were also shown yellow cards.

Commenting on this, Meafou said: “We haven’t played our best rugby against Leinster and that’s come down to inexperience and ill-discipline. Even two years ago, I got myself a yellow card against Leinster in the semi; but the situation is different now. We’re not in Dublin, and it’s a final so the boys are up for it and up to play.

He added: “We definitely want to put our best game forward and see what the result is, but I think it comes down to changing our attitude around discipline and just keeping 15 men on the field. That way we can have a fair game.”

Emmanuel Meafou: “Our mentality is to score points”

Toulouse celebrate-Credit: IMAGO

Toulouse celebrate-Credit: IMAGO

Toulouse have had a stellar Champions Cup campaign so far. Wins over Harlequins (twice), Exeter, Racing 92, Bath and Ulster have propelled them into the final, but it’s the manner of victory which has really caught the eye.

The French side have developed an ability to gain momentum from nowhere, and can run away with games in a matter of minutes.

“I don’t think we don’t work on a specific time where we’re trying to score points,” he said. “But our mentality is whenever we have the ball we want to score points; whether that’s three points or seven points. We want to walk away with points whether we’re in our own half or in their half, and we want to play quick, we want to offload and we want to keep the ball alive.”

Toulouse have scored a combined 133 points in this year’s knockout fixtures, so will once look to test the Leinster defence.

Investec Champions Cup final

Credit: IMAGO

Leinster vs Toulouse

Date: Saturday 25th May

Kick-off: 2:45pm

Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium