With 100 days to go before the Heineken Champions Cup final in Marseille, two-time winner Jocelino Suta is hoping that RC Toulon, the club with whom he won two European titles, will be playing there the day before in the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.
“We like to play at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille,” explained the 37-year-old former France lock, who won the elite trophy in 2013 and 2014. “The atmosphere there is incredible and the public’s enthusiasm is powerful. We hope to be in Marseille in May.
Toulon are indeed seeded to reach the final on May 22, having topped Pool 2 with 28 points after winning all six games and should they do so, it will bring back happy memories for Suta.
“It quickly became a love story between the Heineken Champions Cup and Toulon,” he said of the TOP 14 club’s hat-trick of European titles between 2013 and 2015.
“We had the right team, we clung on to that special atmosphere and adrenaline, the state of mind was there and after that first victory, we were hungry. We wanted to go after the victories and trophies.”
Suta, who made 52 European appearances for Toulon between 2008 and 2018, revealed that the secret of their success was their relaxed attitude.
“During the finals we weren’t stressed,” he added. “We never felt like we were preparing for finals, we didn’t put pressure on ourselves, and the day before the match we laughed, played games and cards with our friends. Maybe that is how we made it different.
“But the Heineken Champions Cup is special. It has nothing to do with the TOP14. It is much faster, especially as we play against great teams and great players, so we want to give best and improve constantly. It’s a very high standard.”
Suta picked out Toulon’s first Heineken Champions Cup title – when they defeated ASM Clermont Auvergne 16-15 in the final – as the most memorable, “because it was Clermont, because it was the first one, because it was unexpected. It was very striking.”
- The 2020 Heineken Champions Cup final is the 25th of Europe’s top club rugby competition
- More than 45,000 tickets have been sold for the game at Stade Vélodrome in Marseille on May 23
- More than 70,000 tickets have been sold for European Finals Weekend on May 22 and 23
- Five of the quarter-finalists have won the title a total of 13 times
- Eleven different clubs have been crowned European champions
- Stade Vélodrome will be the fifth French stadium to stage the final
- Three quarter-finalists are seeking their first Heineken Champions Cup – ASM Clermont Auvergne, Exeter Chiefs and Racing 92