Champions Cup final: Kolbe and Rhule square off for Europe’s top prize

Raymond Rhule will be tasked with containing the ever-dangerous Cheslin Kolbe when La Rochelle meet Toulouse in the Champions Cup final.

Team Hub: Champions Cup final

It will be the first time that La Rochelle and Toulouse face each other in an European competition, but the two sides will have the measure of each other having been rivals in France’s Top14 this season.

It will be the rookies against the veterans as La Rochelle are bidding to win their first-ever European Champions Cup whereas Toulouse are searching for their fifth title.

It’s set to be a battle of the heavyweights as both La Rochelle and Toulouse have selected monstrous forward packs to lay the base for their razor-sharp backlines. Toulouse currently boast a 100% scrum success rate in the competition but will be tested by a La Rochelle pack that dismantled Leinster in the semi-final.

Toulouse have brought Springbok Rynhardt Elstadt back into the starting lineup on the blindside flank; he will be looking for an abrasive performance on the biggest stage and remind the Bok selectors of his pedigree.

In the backline, it’s the battle of the wings that is set to dominate. Cheslin Kolbe‘s abilities are self-evident and he will be relishing the opportunity to tear up Twickenham.

Raymond Rhule faces Kolbe on the opposite wing as he continues his career resurgence with O’Gara’s La Rochelle. He’ll have a sturdy task on his hands to contain the livewire Kolbe, but if he can manage to do so it might finally put to bed all arguments about his supposed defensive frailties.

On the other wing, the versatile Dillyn Leyds will have another opportunity to further his cause for a Bok recall.

Kick-off: 5:45pm, Twickenham

La Rochelle – 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Levani Botia, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Gregory Alldritt, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Romain Sazy, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Dany Priso.

Subs: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Reda Wardi, 18 Arthur Joly, 19 Thomas Lavault, 20 Wian Liebenberg, 21 Pierre Boudehent, 22 Arthur Retiere, 23 Jules Plisson.

Toulouse – 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Juan Cruz Mallia, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Matthis Lebel, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Francois Cros, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Richie Arnold, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille.

Subs: 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.