Stade Toulousain coach Ugo Mola has fond memories of Cardiff and so he can’t wait to take his side back to the Welsh capital when the French club open their defence of the Heineken Champions Cup there on December 11.
The 48-year-old was part of the Toulouse squad who won the European Cup in 1996, beating Cardiff 21-18 after extra-time at what is now Cardiff Arms Park.
“[Cardiff] is still a place we enjoy going to,” he said. “Wales and that club [Cardiff Rugby] have always had a special relationship with Stade Toulousain.
“Historically, we have some really strong connections, so yes, I am happy to be going back there, but what will make us happy is obviously to emerge victorious from this double confrontation.”
FIVE games to round off R1 this time next week, including some European classics 🤩
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 5, 2021
Although Toulouse won the Heineken Champions Cup and the TOP 14 last season, Mola is sure his squad will not be complacent as they look to repeat the feat.
“I’m lucky to have a group of rather exceptional players who still want to pit themselves against the best teams, so I hope we’ll continue to be able to do battle against the best and be capable of beating them, which isn’t always easy,” he remarked.
“We’ll try to give ourselves the best chance to operate at the highest level in this competition. We know that the smallest of mistakes will be costly and that this ‘sprint’ will start in the match against Cardiff. We won’t be able to afford to make many mistakes.”
He added that he wanted his team to be ready to go on the “‘B’ of the ‘bang’” against Cardiff, turning in a performance that justifies the media hype around the reigning champions.
“The worst thing we could do would be to think ourselves better than the others, to lack humility and to not hold ourselves accountable,” he pointed out. “This is the frame of mind we’re in today.”