The prop who somehow beat the most defenders in the Heineken Champions Cup Final
The Heineken Champions Cup often throws up some fun facts and statistical anomalies, but one on the weekend caught the eye more than most.
Toulouse prop, Cyril Baille, had the highest total of defenders beaten in the final with an impressive six. It’s a statistic that is nearly always dominated by back three players, or maybe the occasional back row, but in the forward dominated clash it was the French international prop that took that particular honour.
It was a decent afternoon for front rowers in general. La Rochelle’s Pierre Bourgarit made 17 tackles at Twickenham, the joint-most tackles in the game; a stat he had to share with Toulouse’s flanker Francois Cros.
Following victories by Toulouse and Montpellier in last weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals respectively, 2020/21 is the second time in the history of European club competitions that French clubs have won both trophies in the same season. The only other occasion was in 1996/97 when Brive and Bourgoin were successful.
Apart from a record fifth star as the 2021 Heineken Champion Cup winners, Toulouse’s seventh appearance in a final is also a new benchmark for the tournament.
Emile Ntamack, who captained Toulouse to victory in 1996, and Romain Ntamack, who kicked 17 points in the Twickenham final, are the first father and son to win either the Heineken Champions Cup or Challenge Cup.
La Rochelle’s Tawera Kerr-Barlow become the first All Black to score a try in a European Cup final.
EPCR European Player of the Year, Antoine Dupont, demonstrated his all-round quality in the final with 77 metres made, 16 tackles, 20 carries and two offloads.
Toulouse’s Ugo Mola, who was a winner in 1996, and Leinster Rugby’s Leo Cullen are now the only men to have won the tournament both as a player and a Head Coach.
Toulouse’s Argentine centre, Juan Cruz Mallia, made his first Heineken Champions Cup start in Saturday’s final, and scored a crucial try.
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