This Friday evening will see the conclusion of the European Challenge Cup, as Leicester Tigers face Montpellier at Twickenham Stadium.
10,000 fans will be present at the house of rugby, to attend the first major meeting of rugby union on British soil for more than a year where the fans have been present.
This will be followed by the European Champions Cup final on Saturday, as French teams Toulouse and La Rochelle go head-to-head for the most coveted European prize.
European Challenge Cup final: Leicester Tigers vs Montpellier
After a frenzied victory against the Harlequins this weekend, Leicester will be full of confidence as they enter their first major final under the guidance of head coach Steve Borthwick. The East Midlands have seen a resurgence under the leadership of England’s old lock and appear to be on track to return to the top of English rugby.
Half-fly George Ford has been in glorious form the past few weeks and will need to be at his best if Leicester is to claim their first piece of silver in almost 4 years. England international Ford will rely on Ellis Genge, Jasper Wiese and Nemani Nadolo to give Leicester plenty of lead, allowing him to explore the cracks appearing in the opposing defense.
Montpellier, on the other hand, struggles in the Top 14. Sitting in 10th joint position, their performances in the French league stand in stark contrast to their clinical and crisp victory over Bath in the semi-final at Rec. That performance away from home was an indication of how good the Southern France squad was – and with World Cup winners Handre Pollard and Cobus Reinach coming off the bench, you can never count them .
The young guns of Leicester against the old wiley faces of Montpellier – for my part, I can’t wait to take a seat at Twickenham on Friday night for this exciting meeting.
European Champions Cup final: Toulouse vs La Rochelle
Toulouse, quadruple champion, wants to become the first team in the history of the competition to lift the trophy 5 times. Toulouse, which currently sits at the top of the Top 14 in France, have so far been disappointing in their victories in the quarter-finals and semi-finals against the other French teams from Clermont and Bordeaux.
Meanwhile, La Rochelle have been in sublime form, dismantling both Sale and 4-time champion Leinster in their quarter-final and semi-final performances. The victory over Leinster was particularly striking, with the Irish unable to cope with the power and physicality of second-place Will Skelton and rear rowers Gregory Aldritt and former All Black and World Cup winner. Victor Vito.
However, cancel Toulouse at your own risk – the 4-time winners are fortunate enough to have an equally monstrous pack, which features two-time Rugby World Cup winner Jerome Kaino and the Arnold twins of Australian descent who come together. rank second.
By far the names keep coming, with World Player of the Year nominee Cheslin Kolbe on one wing, and the Top 14 top try scorer. Matthis lebel the other; while the first candidate for the European and World Player of the Year Antoine Dupont, will pull the strings in the scrum half.
It seems like an absolute cracker in the UK capital – you won’t want to miss it!
Will Leicester go all the way and ensure the glory of the Challenge Cup? Which French team are you back to win the Champions Cup? Please comment below with your thoughts.