Rugby. The Vélodrome and the oval, an enduring love story

The Vélodrome is not just about football. Friday night, the iconic city residence of Marseille will host the final of the European Challenge between two French clubs: Toulon and Lyon (9 pm). The next day, rebel: it will host the big European final, the European Cup, between La Rochelle and the Irish in Leinster.

This is not the first time the Marseille stadium has hosted rugby games, on the contrary.

Here are some examples of matches where the Vélodrome adorns itself in an oval.

Toulon – Toulouse in the Top 14, “the classic in the Top 14”

The RCT against the Stade Toulousain at the Vélodrome has already become a classic: eight meetings have already taken place on the Mediterranean coast, only for one win by the people of Ugo Mola near the Old Port. It was in the 2014-2015 season, with a 34-24 win.

This time, for the 23rd day of the Top 14, the battle in the south once again took place in a boiling Vélodrome stadium, in front of 64,805 spectators, on April 22. Toulon stammered in their rugby for a long time against the French champions, but ended up dominating Toulouse (19-15), for the eighth time.

Winger Gabin Villière released Var at the end of the game, by scoring a try, after small hooks, for which he alone had the secret.

“It’s obviously what you want, because it’s a great poster to play in a full stadium. You have to know how to take advantage of these unique opportunities in a career and above all have a lot of fun. “It’s a place where every athlete dreams of a day’s play, so it’s a real opportunity to experience that. This stadium is one of the best in France,” he said. relied on the back of RCT Aymeric Luc (24 years old), of Rugby News THEREbefore the game.
The attendance record for “The Classico in the Top 14”as Var president Mourad Boudjellal called it, was also beaten on April 22nd.

A European Challenge final was lost by Toulon against Cardiff

On May 23, 2010, the Vélodrome hosted the final of the European Challenge, between Cardiff and Toulon. The Cardiff Blues, out of control on defense, changed after the break. Following 6-13, they came back thanks to a try by Jamie Roberts. Taking advantage of the hasty exit of English international opener from RCT, Jonny Wilkinson, in the 47th minute of play, Davies scored twice and gave the Blues the win and title (28-21).

This final was also marked by the end of the red and black jersey of former All Blacks captain, Tana Umaga, who came in at the end of the game and was praised by Var fans.

It was one of those rare times that Toulon conceded defeat at the Vélodrome.

The European Cup finals return to Marseille

Marseille were deprived of it for two consecutive years. In 2020, the pandemic has prevented the creation of competitions. Rebel in 2021, where the EPCR left the Vélodrome stadium “to limit cross-border travel and the risk of passing Covid-19”. Twickenham finally inherited it, to witness Stade Toulousain’s victory over Stade Rochelais (17-22), and Toulouse’s fifth star.

This year, Marseille will host the last two rounds of the European competition: the Challenge Cup final, this Friday, then the Champions Cup final, the next day.

And three French clubs – out of four possible – will play in these two rounds: a Franco -French poster for the small European Cup between Lou and Toulon, when the Maritimes try to defeat the Leinster monster.

READ AGAIN. Rugby. European Cup: three clubs in the semi-finals, French rugby proves its good health

France – South Africa, gala poster

In November 2002, for test -matches in the fall, the Blues, whose rankings included Fabien Galthié and Raphaël Ibanez (current coach and general manager of XV in France), won over South Africa (30-10), in front. of 60,000 spectators gathered at the Stade Vélodrome.

The next autumn tour will also see one of its games transferred to the Vélodrome for a gala poster: France – South Africa, November 12, ie the winners of the 2022 Grand Slam of the 6 Nations Tournament and contenders for world throne. , facing the reigning world champions Boks.

The information is not yet formal, but work at the Stade de France suggests that this dream poster could take place in Marseille.

Six games in the 2023 World Cup

And what about the year 2023? The oval ball will go to the party in France, which will host the World Cup, from September 8 to October 28. The games will be divided between nine cities, and Marseille is one of the lucky ones: the Vélodrome will host the six games in total, four group games and two quarter-finals.

The Vélodrome will most likely host France’s XV on September 21, 2023, against an unknown African team. During the pools, two compelling posters will take place in the city of Marseille: England will challenge Argentina on September 9, and the next day, South Africa, the reigning world champions, will face Scotland.

The most anticipated games are the two quarter-finals on Oct. 14 and 15, 2023, between the first two of pools C and D. Owen Farrell and his teammates could tread well on the grass at the Vélodrome in some moments in the fall, and continue the wonderful love story between the Stade Vélodrome and the oval ball.

Rugby. The Vélodrome and the oval, an enduring love story

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