Toulouse win record fifth European Champions Cup in La Rochelle thriller

·1-min read
Winners again - Toulouse players celebrate a 22-17 victory over La Rochelle in the European Champions Cup final at Twickenham on Saturday

Toulouse saw off 14-man La Rochelle to be crowned European club rugby union kings for a record fifth time following a dramatic finish to the Champions Cup final at Twickenham on Saturday.

La Rochelle played most of the match a man down after centre Levani Botia was red-carded for a head-high tackle on opposition full-back Maxime Medard in the 28th minute.

"The history is everywhere around the club, it hits you straight way when you get there so for us it was a huge motivating factor to live up to the standard that had already been set up for us," Toulouse No. 8 Jerome Kaino told Channel 4.

"To be able to get that fifth star is unreal," he added.

Yet despite La Rochelle's disadvantage, the score was still level at 12-12 until the hour mark as Toulouse's Argentina centre Juan Cruz Mallia crossed for the opening try of the match.

France fly-half Romain Ntamack, who along with La Rochelle counterpart Ihaia West had already kicked four penalties, converted to put Toulouse seven points in front.

Ntamack then landed another penalty to put Toulouse two scores in front at 22-12 with barely 10 minutes left.

Yet in the 73rd minute La Rochelle hit back with a try from former New Zealand scrum-half Tawera Kerr Barlow.

But West's conversion bounced off the right post and clear, meaning La Rochelle needed a try, rather than a penalty, to draw level with time running out.

It was a task that just proved beyond them as Top 14 leaders Toulouse held on surpass the record of four European Champions Cup titles they had previously shared with Irish province Leinster.

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