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La Rochelle change two and Toulouse three as teams named for their all-French European decider

By Liam Heagney

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Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup final teams have been announced with first-time finalists La Rochelle making two changes following their semi-final over Leinster and four-time winners Toulouse switching three following their success over Bordeaux, a game after which skipper Julien Marchand was banned for the Twickenham showpiece. 

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Marchand copped a four-match ban for his cited second-half shoulder to the head of Bordeaux’s Romain Buros. The foul play went unpunished during the game and it left former Lions skippers Brian O’Driscoll and Sam Warburton incensed in their post-match analysis on BT Sport, the pair calling the incident “the reddest of red cards”.

With Marchand now ruled out as Toulouse bid to make history by becoming the first club to win five Champions Cup titles, his place at hooker has gone to Peato Mauvaka in a selection that will be skippered on the day by scrum-half Antoine Dupont. 

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The other two Toulouse changes see Rynhardt Elstadt come in at blindside for Alban Placines and Juan Cruz Mallia at midfield for Zack Holmes.

While Toulouse laboured to victory in a dull semi-final spectacle, La Rochelle lit up the early May weekend with their demolition of Leinster but they will take the pitch 20 days later with an XV that sees Dany Priso take over at loosehead from Reda Wardi and Kevin Gourdon picked in the back row for Wiaan Liebenberg.

LA ROCHELLE: 15. Brice Dulin; 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12. Levani Botia, 11. Raymond Rhule; 10. Ihaia West, 9. Tawera Kerr Barlow; 1. Dany Priso, 2. Pierre Bourgarit, 3. Uini Atonio, 4. Romain Sazy (capt), 5. Will Skelton, 6. Gregory Alldritt, 7. Kevin Gourdon, 8. Victor Vito. Reps: Reps: 16. Facundo Bosch, 17. Reda Wardi, 18. Arthur Joly, 19. Thomas Lavault, 20. Wiaan Liebenberg, 21. Paul Boudehent, 22. Arthur Retiere, 23. Jules Plisson.

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TOULOUSE:15. Maxime Medard; 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 13. Juan Cruz MallIa, 12. Pita Ahki, 11. Matthis Lebel; 10. Romain Ntamack, 9. Antoine Dupont (capt); 1. Cyril Baille, 2. Peato Mauvaka, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Richie Arnold, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 7. Francois Cros, 8. Jerome Kaino. Reps: 16. Guillaume Marchand, 17. Clement Castets, 18. David Ainu’u, 19. Joe Tekori, 20. Thibaud Flament, 21. Selevasio Tolofua, 22. Baptiste Germain, 23. Thomas Ramos.

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La Rochelle change two and Toulouse three as teams named for their all-French European decider

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