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Toulouse have a score to settle against Leinster

SPOTLIGHT: Toulouse do not want their past results against Leinster to play on their minds ahead of this weekend’s Champions Cup Final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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The French giants lost their three most recent meetings against Leinster and all have been at the semifinal stage.

However, Stade Toulousain lock Emmanuel Meafou says history will not be a factor this week as they aim to win a record sixth title.

“Even though our success rate against Leinster hasn’t been good, we’re a different team than we were three years ago and four years ago, and we keep getting better,” he said.

“We like our chances and we’re going to give it our best.”

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The 25-year-old French international acknowledged that inexperience and ill-discipline have been a particular problem, with Meafou himself being yellow-carded in the 17-40 loss in 2022 and two of his teammates in the 22-41 defeat last year.

“Reviewing our games, we’ve definitely sat down and said we really haven’t had a good game against Leinster,” he said.

“But saying that, Leinster are definitely a quality team and we just weren’t ready for that.

“So, it’s a mixture of things – inexperience, ill-discipline. Last year we played with two yellow cards and it’s hard to win a final when you’re down a player.

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“But I think we’ve grown as a team and there are a lot of players who have played those two past games, although we’re not the same team.”

Leinster v Toulouse season stats 2024

Saturday’s neutral venue could also even the playing field a bit as those previous three meetings were all played in Dublin.

“It never helps when you’ve got 50,000 Irish fans yelling at you – it’s hard to get into the game,” he recalled.

“But whether we’re in Tottenham or Toulouse, we’ve got to play a good brand of rugby.

“We’re more focused on the result and what we can control.

“We’ve got to play our game and we’re very excited about it.”

Toulouse will also be drawing inspiration from Stade Rochelais’ victories over Leinster in the last two finals.

“We’re aware of Leinster’s strengths – how they come out the first 20-30 minutes, so we’ve been working on our defence,” Meafou revealed.

“We know it’s an 80-minute game and that La Rochelle has beaten them right at the end twice.

“No matter what their quality, the match isn’t won in the first 20-30 minutes; it will go the whole way.”

Source: @ChampionsCup

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