Jono Gibbes proud of La Rochelle's effort despite defeat to Toulouse in Champions Cup final

La Rochelle were defeated by Toulouse 17-22 in the Champions Cup final
La Rochelle were defeated by Toulouse 17-22 in the Champions Cup final

La Rochelle director of rugby Jono Gibbes said he was proud of the team's effort despite losing the Heineken Champions Cup final to Toulouse at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.

La Rochelle had to deal with the absence of Levani Botia, who was red carded in the 27th minute for a high tackle on Maxime Medard but despite the setback they showed a lot of character to give Toulouse a tough fight but eventually went on to lose by a five-point margin.

Gibbes, who is set to join Clermont at the end of the ongoing season admitted that his side showed a lot of character in looking to prevent Toulouse from winning the competition for the fifth time.

“It’s pretty raw,” said Gibbes.

“It’s pretty hard to start processing things straight away, but I think it’s important. We pride ourselves on our resilience as a group.

“But I think the fact that we’re so disappointed to lose that final and to do that with 14 men shows the great character, the fight in the group and the resilience, but that resilience is going to be tested Monday morning, absolutely.

“When we have to face up to that video session, go through that stuff, and quickly turn the attention to preparing for Pau and Clermont the week after that. That’s what it’s about. That’s the real test."

La Rochelle have also been impressive this season as they hold the second place in the Top 14 table with 16 wins from 24 games with games against Clermont and Pau remaining in the regular season and Gibbes is confident of finishing the competition on a high.

"For me, the next 48 hours are going to be pretty hard for the players and their families and, indeed, for all our supporters, absolutely, but I guess my message for the supporters is: I know what character is in this group.

“As hard as it will be, they’ll come into work on Monday, look through that tape, be honest about it and then put their head in the right place to go back to work.

“We have to be honest, we have to take it on the chin, and we need to move forward, and I’m confident we can do that.”


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table