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Heineken Cup final preview


WIth just days to go to the highlight of the European club rugby season, please find attached a comprehensive preview of the 2014 Heineken Cup final between RC Toulon and Saracens, including this week’s media opportunities, updates, ERC European Player of the Year 2014, finals records and in-depth tournament statistics.

Heineken Cup final notes

  • This will be the seventh Heineken Cup final played in Cardiff, which this year is celebrating its status as the European Capital of Sport. The previous finals in the Welsh capital were in 1996, 1997, 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2011.
  • Two Irish (Munster Rugby twice and Leinster Rugby once), two French (Toulouse and Brive) and one English club have won the Heineken Cup in Cardiff. In addition, Cardiff has also hosted the 2011 Amlin Challenge Cup final.
  • RC Toulon are seeking to become only the third club in Heineken Cup history to successfully defend their title. Leicester Tigers were the first club to achieve that goal in 2001 and 2002, while Leinster Rugby followed suit in 2011 and 2012.
  • If RC Toulon do succeed in holding onto their European title then Jonny Wilkinson will join Martin Johnson (Leicester Tigers), Fabien Pelous (Toulouse) and Leo Cullen (Leinster Rugby) as captains who have lifted the trophy more than once.
  • This will be RC Toulon’s fourth European final in five seasons. They were beaten by Cardiff Blues in the 2010 Amlin Challenge Cup decider in Marseille, lost the 2012 final of the same tournament to Biarritz Olympique at the Twickenham Stoop and won the Heineken Cup against ASM Clermont Auvergne in Dublin last season.
  • Saracens have never been in a European final before and are aiming to become the first English club to win the Heineken Cup since London Wasps in 2007, and the fifth Premiership side to achieve that goal after Bath Rugby (1998), Northampton Saints (2000), Leicester Tigers (2001, 2002) and London Wasps (2004, 2007).
  • Sarries have a number of players in their squad who have experienced European finals before: skipper Steve Borthwick and Matt Stevens were both winners with Bath Rugby in the 2008 Amlin Challenge Cup final, having lost in 2007. Borthwick also lost in the 2003 final when Bath went down to London Wasps; Marcelo Bosch came on as a replacement in Biarritz Olympique’s  triumph over RC Toulon in the 2012 Amlin Challenge Cup final, and Charlie Hodgson has two Amlin Challenge Cup winner’s medals from his days with Sale Sharks in 2002, 2005.
  • Both captains will be playing their final European fixtures. Jonny Wilkinson is hanging up his boots at the end of the season after 14 years of action which have seen him amass 842 points in 66 games in both competitions for Newcastle Falcons and RC Toulon. Steve Borthwick has played 15 seasons in both tournaments and has played 94 games for Bath Rugby and Saracens – more European games than any other English player. Today will be his fourth European final after three Amlin Challenge Cup final appearances with Bath Rugby.



2014 Heineken Cup final preview

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