Toulouse will go into the defence of their Heineken Cup crown against London Wasps in Sunday’s showpiece Twickenham final on the back of a defeat, adamant they will rise to the big occasion
Toulouse will go into the defence of their Heineken Cup crown against London Wasps in Sunday’s showpiece Twickenham final on the back of a defeat – but adamant they will rise to the big occasion.
A 24-18 away French Championship play-off defeat by Stade Francais means the club going for a record third Heineken Cup title must pick themselves up against a team who have booked two Twickenham final dates in the space of six days and are going for a European and domestic double.
We had to get Saturday’s home defeat to Stade Francais out of our heads, then immediately look ahead to London Wasps because a huge challenge awaits us, said prop Patrice Collazo.
In all the recent Wasps matches I have seen their level of physical commitment is enormous – on just that alone they have been head and shoulders above most opposition. They have a huge amount of power and turn of speed.
As far as Toulouse is concerned, despite the defeat on the weekend, I don’t think we are far from our top level.
This is a Heineken Cup final so everyone is going to lift their game. Wasps have a strong advantage, playing in London they are practically at home, but we are going to prepare well for this match – we are determined to hold onto our title.
Maybe we haven’t reached 100 % yet this season but this is certainly the match which will lift our level to 100 % – if not more. Stade Toulousain’s strength in depth often makes the difference and, even after the home defeat on Saturday, we got together straight away in the dressing room to regroup and look forward.
At Toulouse we like challenges and this is certainly a big challenge, especially away from home.
Craig Dowd is a key member of the Wasps team so his injury is a big loss to them. He is a fantastic scrummager but he is also great in defence and around the field.
The scrum will be a very important part of the game next weekend. We are confident in our own abilities in that area but we will work hard this week to try and dominate the Wasps’ scrum, although aware that they are very strong throughout.