Two clubs less than 2km apart will meet in the final of the 2022 French Elite Championship
After two weekends of knockout games the 2022 French Elite Championship final will be between Stade Toulousain and Blagnac – two clubs less than 2km apart (as the crow flies) on opposite sides of the Garonne in city of Toulouse.
It is a deserved final for both clubs, who each topped their qualification pools during the regular season, although while Toulousain won Poule A at a canter with 12 wins from 12 games, Blagnac won Poule B by a single point over Bordeaux and Montpelier.
The quarter-finals last weekend featured two big wins – Toulousain swept Lyon aside 27-0, and Blagnac had an even bigger 42-15 win against Grenoble.
The other two games were far closer. Bordeaux reached the last four 18-15 against Bobigny thanks to a Morgane Bourgois penalty, while 2021 champions Romagnat were behind for most of their game against Montpellier, only turned the game around with a last minute Alice Henry try, converted by Jessy Tremouliere, to win 22-20.
This set up this weekend’s semi-finals between Toulousain and Bordeaux, and Romagnat and Blagnac, both played at neutral venues.
In Dax, Toulouse swept into an early lead against Bordeaux with tries from Wendy Divoux and Roxanne Bilon, the latter converted by Pauline Bourdon, but the boot of Morgane Bourgois kept Bordeaux in the game so that at halftime Toulousain lead by just 12-9.
The second half was a different story. Tries from Laure Sansus (43’), Lea Murie (54’), Celine Ferer (64’) took the game away from Bordeaux, leaving Toulousain 31-12 winners.
Romagnat and Blagnac travelled to the small town of Brive-la-Gaillarde for their semi-final, where Blagnac had the better of the first half going in 12-3 ahead thanks to tries from Tearere Tetua and Melissande Llorens. But a yellow card for second row Amelie Mugnier early in the second half allowed Romagnat to close the gap just four points with a Camille Raoux try. A Lina Queyroi penalty for Blagnac extended the least to seven points ten minutes before the end, and this time Romagnat were unable to pull the game around. Despite all of their pressure, Blagnac held on for the win 15-8.
The final will be played next Saturday in Grenoble.