Champions Cup Final: 3 reasons to tune in for Clermont v Toulon
Before Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao go toe-to-toe in Las Vegas, and Chelsea win the Premier League by breezing past Crystal Palace, the biggest game in European rugby takes place as Top14 duo Clermont and Toulon clash in the first Champions Cup final at Twickenham.
Ahead of the big day, we’ve flagged up a few reasons why news.ladbrokes’ rugby-mad readers should flick on Sky Sports 3 at 5pm Saturday, or head to Twickenham if you can get a ticket:
The northern hemisphere’s undisputed top two face off…
There’s little doubt the best pair of teams in Europe have reached this showpiece, especially after Clermont destroyed Aviva Premiership champions (and this year’s runaway leaders) Northampton 37-5 in the quarter finals.
Frank Azema’s side’s 13-9 victory over Saracens in the semis was better than it sounds too, as they had to overcome the mental challenge of beating a team that turned them over 46-6 at the same stage of the last Heineken Cup campaign 12 months ago.
Meanwhile, Toulon are in the hunt for their third successive European title, having overcome continental experts Leinster in the last four.
The English, Irish and Welsh RFUs may howl with anger, but there’s no competing with the nouveau riche Top14 at present. Remember, Racing Metro are coming like a train too.
…as do England’s exiled duo
Two players on the Twickers pitch, one on each side as it is, will be hoping this won’t be their sole visit in 2015.
Former Bath full-back Nick Abendanon was described as “the breakout player in this year’s tournament” by ex-England scrum-half Austin Healy in the Telegraph this week, but the 28-year-old Clermont man has togged out just twice for the Red Rose first team since making his debut in 2007.
With in-form Toulon lock Steffon Armitage also set to start, some are calling for Stuart Lancaster to abandon his English-clubs only selection policy, although that’s highly unlikely to happen before this summer’s World Cup, if at all.
Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Aurelian Rougerie, Matt Giteau, Wesley Fofana, Leigh Halfpenny and Jonathan Davies, to name just a few, are included in the price of the ticket
You’ll have to wait until next year to see Australian maverick Quade Cooper, All-Black legends Dan Carter and Ma’a Nonu, plus Ireland captain Paul O’Connell according to recent rumours, strut their stuff across the English channel, but who can argue with the talent on show this Saturday?
Get it watched!