RC Toulon head coach Pierre Mignoni says winning the EPCR Challenge Cup for the first time on Friday night was the next step in the club’s route back to their glory days.
The three-time Heineken Champions Cup had gone six years without a trophy before they thrashed Glasgow Warriors 43-19 in Dublin.
They became the first French club to win the both the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup, and subsequntly booked a return to EPCR’s elite competition next season.
“We build with titles,” Mignoni said. “It was important for the group get their reward, they deserve it.
Still not over last night 🤩
Watch extended highlights from @RCTofficiel's #ChallengeCupRugby win 👇
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) May 20, 2023
“Talking about the future is difficult in the heat of the moment. There is still a lot of work to do, we will try to rebalance our team and our group. For this, this title must help us to build ourselves and move forward.
“I’m proud of this group because no matter what anyone says, in the end, only one wins. We have been criticised a lot, perhaps rightly, but today we are the only French club to have won both European competitions.
“It will help us a lot, it will count a lot. When I hear some people say that a Challenge Cup title doesn’t count, it’s either because they’ve forgotten, or they’ve never played.”
Mignoni praised his team for their fast start against Glasgow, which produced three tries in the opening 25 minutes, and applauded their attitude as they denied their opponents any way back into the game after the break.
“It was important to start strong, like any game,” he said. “I have the impression that we adapted quite well to what this team offered us in attack and defense, we rather dominated the collisions and that allowed us to reach half-time with a certain lead.
“At that moment, we could have disintegrated, but what is good is that at the break, the players took charge by telling themselves that we had to attack the second period as if it was 0-0.
“The Scots could have come back at the beginning of the second half, they had a few chances but they were not given hope.”
🏆 @RCTofficiel become the 5th team to lift both the #ChallengeCupRugby trophy and the #HeinekenChampionsCup 🏆 pic.twitter.com/4lKqWZgHjt
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) May 19, 2023
Captain Charles Ollivon was overjoyed to deliver a long-awaited trophy for the Toulon fans and says their previous four failures in the Challenge Cup final offered them invaluable experience heading into the Glasgow contest.
“There is a lot of joy, a lot of fun,” he said. “My first thoughts are for the Toulon fans, for our families. We deserve it. For several seasons, it has not been easy. But no one ever gave up.
“Everyone was committed to getting this trophy. It’s just happiness. The past has served us well. I often hear about mistakes, failures but I don’t see it that way
“It is thanks to these moments that we will look for beautiful things in the future. Either you lower your head, or you learn.”