But who are these lucky people who will compete in the La Rochelle-Toulouse final at Twickenham?

Of course, this photomontage includes collection drawings. – AFP

  • The Challenge Cup and Champions Cup finals, Friday and Saturday, will be held in Twickenham in front of 10,000 spectators.
  • For the clash between La Rochelle and Stade Toulouse, the supporters of both teams will be heavily French living in London.

For an average French resident, climbing Mont Blanc in a flip-flop is undoubtedly easier than taking part in the Champions Cup final at Twickenham between Stades Rochelle and Toulouse this Saturday. The duel is 100% French, but EPCR, in charge of European competitions, opted for the London enclosure instead of the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on 30 April, which would wait for another year.

Health conditions in England, at that time much better than in France, broke the scales. 10,000 spectators (out of a capacity of 42,000) will participate in Saturday’s poster, or as many as this Friday for the European Challenge Finals between the “locals” of Montpellier and Leicester. “Fewer than 100 places are available for each match”, the EPCR assured on Thursday. 20 minutes, Assuming the goal: “The tickets are aimed at fans based in the UK. “

In theory, Toulouse and La Rochelle could each sell 1,000 locations at prices ranging from 60 to 105 euros. But owing to the harsh hygiene conditions imposed on Owen Farrell’s country, he hasn’t really got any takers. For a French supporter, it was necessary to isolate himself for ten days in London and undergo several PCR tests in order to be expected to attend this meeting. Knowing that the cost of the said test on the other side of the channel is about 200 Euro …

“We were given 1,000 seats and 150 invitations to start,” Stade Rochelleis says. In the absence of exemption, we decided not to organize special flights for the match. It was very complicated. We obviously didn’t make any splash. Around 170 have been sold, thanks mainly to supporters of the club living in London and the Irish to Ronan O’Gara [l’entraîneur des arrières]. For invitations, we will send them to the French people in London through our network of partners. “

In the opponent’s favor, the answer is even more cash: “We have not sold any tickets as Stade Toulouse. Only the EPCR ticket office sold anything for the finals as there were too many restrictions for French travelers. But in and around London Many of the compatriots living have clearly taken place. “

“Rather flexible” access conditions

The case concerns 35-year-old Elodie, a native of Bordeaux but a supporter of La Rochelle since childhood. “I’ve been living in London for five years now and certainly I don’t want to miss this moment,” she says. I found my location through the Stade Rochelleis website. “” The conditions for access to the stadium are flexible, she assures. We do not need to be vaccinated, although I am. Our temperature will be taken at the entrance, and we will check if there are any signs in the audience. “

It will be mandatory to wear masks within the stadium, except when they are eating food or drink while sitting in their pre-allocated seats. Social distancing must be respected at all times, the EPCR specifies.

Another Franco-Londoner, Thibault (29) says, “And it would be forbidden for women to enter Twickenham with a bag, even a handbag.” In England since 2012, Haute-Goronis de Revel, the birthplace of Christophe Pelissier, Laurent Lebitt and Gate 27, will certainly support Rouge et Noir. “I bought tickets on the RFU website [la Fédération anglaise de rugby, propriétaire de Twickenham] Just before winning the semi-final against UBB. I took two for my English girlfriend and me. Seven or eight of us would come with friends from my old Steetonian rugby team. “

Photos sent to friends in France Photos

From the oval temple, Thibault would send photographs to his friends from the Hute Association, a group of supporters of the Stade Toulouse, who were forced to live in France. “We will try to represent them,” smiles the amateur rugby player, who is well aware of his “fate”, while Pink City fans are not allowed to meet at City Center. “Ernest-Wallen will not have any giant screens, everything is dead, sorry to Jean-Marc Arnaud, president of the Hute. We wanted to do a cleaning day on our campus and then watch the game. It is not allowed.”

A heartbreak for clubs

Toulouse like Rochelais de France would vibrate by proxy, therefore, like two teams that were injured or suspended who had to leave at the dock, a small delegation of 52 people for each team, due to lack of space, included players. It is hard to imagine that officers such as Captain Julian Marchand, Sofienne Guitoune and Yoanne Huguet toward Toulouse, or Pierre Aguillan in Rochelle, would not be able to appear in the epilogue of a European novel for which they have written beautiful pages.

“Julian Marchand’s stare at the parking lot on Wednesday evening, exiting the stadium, will mark me for a lifetime,” said Rouge et Noir manager Ugo Mola. “It is a great sorrow,” regrets Roschel’s President Vincent Merling more politely.

Irish unknown

This Saturday at Twickenham, the thoughts of lucky fans of Twickenham will be more pleasing. “Regardless of the gauge, I think there will be a fantastic atmosphere, even though I expect to see more supporters from Toulouse than La Rochelle”, Elodie fears “Marine”. Not sure, Thibault answers. “There will still be some English people, and I know some people who would support La Rochelle because they have a second house. Well, I managed to convert three or four…”

Another uncertainty: In what hands did the Irish-bought tickets in London fall before the semi-finals, then were resold after the failure of Leinster in La Rochelle? The question will not be answered at the end of the day before this Saturday. Provided that it does not occur in the near future. “We hope to have 65,000 people in Marseille next year”, want to believe EPCR. Hopefully, this time it is not 100% English European Cup final.

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About the Author: Piers Parker

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