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The ninth season of the Heineken Cup tournament will come to a pulsating climax at Twickenham on Sunday with defending champions Toulouse going for an unprecedented third title and London Wasps aiming to be crowned European club kings for the first time in what has all the hallmarks of being a fascinating final (3.00 pm).

And Lawrence Dallaglio's Wasps are being tipped as slight favorites for the Northern Hemisphere's showpiece club occasion - although Toulouse half-backs Frederic Michalak and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde could be the reigning champions' trump cards.

That is the independent view of Stade Francais coach Nick Mallett, whose side beat Toulouse 24-18 in the French Championship play-offs at the weekend. "Both teams deserve to be in the final - they are without a doubt the best two teams in the competition this year, said the former South African coach.

"If both teams had full sides and were fully concentrating on this match, I would give Wasps a 60% chance of winning with the home support they will have on the day.

But they've lost Craig Dowd - and Simon Shaw and Joe Worsley have been injured - whereas Toulouse's injured players, especially their half backs, have had

more time to come back and they will be better again by next week so maybe it is more 50/50.

"However it's difficult to predict the outcome of the Heineken Cup final on recent form because maybe both teams have had one eye on the Twickenham match.

"I think the administrators should have a rethink about how they structure the season because these two teams are trying to play vital games in two competitions at the same time when they should be able to concentrate on the Heineken Cup final.

Heineken Cup Final 2004 LONDON WASPS v TOULOUSE

Twickenham - Sunday 23rd May - 3.00 pm

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland). Touch Judges: Alan Lewis, Donal Courtney (Ireland) TMO: David McHugh (Ireland) TV: SKY SPORTS, FR 2, RTE.

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20 June 2018
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