Toulouse have been crowned European champions for the third time after they defeated Stade Francais 18-12 after extra time in the nail-biting Heineken Cup tenth anniversary final at Murrayfield. 

The match was tied 12-12 after normal time but a penalty from Frederic Michalak and a fine drop goal in extra-time deprived Stade of their first European Cup, having already lost in the 2001 final to Leicester.

The Parisians led until two minutes from the end of normal time before the stand-off levelled the contest with his first penalty strike.
He repeated the dose in the initial stages of extra time – then sealed his side’s success with a superb opportunist drop-goal.

The first half had been a tense affair, Toulouse looked the more urgent team in the early stages with Welsh wing Gareth Thomas almost squeezing through after latching on to a beautifully weighted crossfield chip by Michalak.

It was Stade, however, who began to show control and they broke the deadlock in the 11th minute with a David Skrela penalty following handling on the ground.

The stand-off repeated the feat three minutes later when Toulouse forwards were guilty of entering a ruck from side-on.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde eased the pressure on Toulouse by slotting an identical score at the other end, only to see Skrela quickly restore the Stade advantage.

The kicking duel continued until the half-time break with the rival marksman each maintaining their 100 records to make it 12-6 in favour of Stade.

Toulouse suffered a setback just after the restart when captain Fabien Pelous limped off with a leg injury and replaced by Jean Bouilhou.
The departure of Pelous seemed to inspire his team-mates and they stepped up the pace to immediately narrow the gap with Elissalde’s third strike.

Winger Vincent Clerc then broke clear for Toulouse, however referee Chris White halted play for a marginal forward pass.

Stade looked like holding out, but Michalak’s 79th minute penalty levelled the issue – then put them in front for the first time from close range.

Michalak’s snap drop-goal in the 12th minute of extra time took the match out of Stade’s reach.

MPU – Report – English