Tough assignment for Lyon in first European final

Tough assignment for Lyon in first European final

Lyon will need to overcome RC Toulon for the first time in the EPCR Challenge Cup if they are to triumph in Friday’s final at Stade Vélodrome.

Lyon, who have reached a European final for the first time this season, have been beaten by Toulon each time they have met in the Challenge Cup, by an average margin of 13 points.

In what is the seventh Challenge Cup game contested by two French sides, Lyon will take confidence from their form in this season’s competition – they have scored an average of 30 points per match and have only conceded over 18 points in just one of their last five.

Toulon, meanwhile, are aiming to become just the fifth side to win both the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup after Bath Rugby, Northampton Saints, Leinster Rugby and Wasps.

The game in Marseille kicks off at 20:00 (UK & Irish time) and will be available to watch on BT Sport, beIN SPORTS, France 4 and Sky Italia.

Pool positions

Lyon: 1st, Pool B

Toulon: 1st, Pool A


Lyon 20 Wasps 18

RC Toulon 25 Saracens 16

EPCR Challenge Cup head-to-head record

Toulon wins: 2

Draws: 0

Saracens wins: 0

Leading 2021/22 points-scorers

Lyon: Leo Berdeu (61)

Toulon: Louis Carbonel (51)

Key quotes

Joel Kpoku (Lyon lock): “We’re not focusing on the history – it’s more about taking each game as it comes. We haven’t won anything yet. Thankfully, we’ve secured that spot in the final, but there’s still a journey to get that cup.”

Charles Ollivon (RC Toulon flanker): “For several weeks, everyone has been involved, assuming their responsibilities, and pulling the group up. We have had his competition in the viewfinder, but we have not won anything yet.”


Other key stats

  • This will be Toulon’s fourth appearance in an EPCR Challenge Cup final, the joint most of any club alongside ASM Clermont Auvergne, Bath, Harlequins and Gloucester Rugby; however, they have lost each of their previous three finals, the joint most of any side (also Bath).
  • Toulon have won five of their six games in this season’s EPCR Challenge Cup (L1); however, their only loss came against TOP 14 opposition (17-20 v Biarritz Olympique); they had won eight of their last nine games against fellow French opposition prior to their defeat against Biarritz (L1).
  • Only Glasgow Warriors (13) have averaged more 22 entries per game than Lyon (12.7) in the EPCR Challenge Cup this season, while no side has conceded fewer 22 entries than RC Toulon in the competition in 2021/22 (7 per game).
  • Lyon boast the best ruck success rate in this season’s EPCR Challenge Cup (97%) while they’ve also averaged the most line breaks (6.6), defenders beaten (25.1) and offloads per game (12.7) in the competition in 2021/22.
  • Only four players have made more than five line breaks in this season’s EPCR Challenge Cup and they all play for Lyon: Leo Berdeu (7), Ethan Dumortier (6), Davit Niniashvili (6) and Clement Laporte (6). Niniashvilli has also completed more offloads (11) and made more carry meters than any other player this term (503).
  • No player has made more dominant tackles in this season’s EPCR Challenge Cup than Toulon’s Charles Ollivon (5); Ollivon made 18 successful tackles against Saracens in the last round, the most of any player in the semi-finals.
  • Toulon’s Gabin Villiere has scored four tries in four appearances in the EPCR Challenge Cup this season, including a brace in the semi-final against Saracens, only Gloucester’s Santiago Socino (5) has scored more tries this season; Villiere has also made six breakdown steals in the competition this season, two more than the next best back in that ranking, his teammate Baptiste Serin (4).

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