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Two cup finals

Of the two Cup Finals I watched on Saturday Leinster v Toulouse was much the more gripping.

As a kid the F.A. Cup Final was always the epicentre of the sporting year.

Typically I would go round to a mate in the morning and we would watch on telly the road to the Final, the actual coach journey, the community singing and the Abide With Me hymn before the game itself.

Then the event went into decline.

There was much more live football, the Cup Final did not offer Champions League qualification, it was not the finale of the season and – if a British club was in the Champions League that followed – that took precedence and Cup competitions had a lower status for overseas players.

Out of a misplaced sense of tradition I watched the Cup Final “live” and recorded the Investec Challenge Cup final between Toulouse and Leinster.

Manchester Utd. – and Erik Ten Hag – clearly wanted to win the bragging rights but the two teams were not as well-matched as in the European rugby final.

There was nothing to separate Toulouse and Leinster after 80 minutes.

In extra time, despite having Arnold red-carded, Toulouse asserted themselves to win.

The difference between the teams was Antoine Dupont.

He can kick with precision, has pace and power, tackles and – most importantly – dictates the game.

There were other notable performances from Toulouse players Jack Willis and Blair Kinghorn, but Dupont’s choice as Man of the Match was a unanimous.

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About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts