Beginner's Introduction to the Top 14 Final

Top 14 2020/21 Season, Top 14 PNG, French rugby league season


The final of Europe's top domestic rugby league is here! True giants of the game Toulouse (Stade Toulousain) face off against one of the best teams of the modern era, La Rochelle (Stade Rochelais) in the 2020/21 Top 14 Final. Here's quick introduction to the final and Top 14 season!

The game will be played on Friday the 25th of June and as always will take place at the Stade de France. Premier Sports will be showing the match live in the UK with kick off time at 7:45pm GMT.

Season Rundown

The 2020/21 season ended with Toulouse topping the table once again, and going into the first semi final confident having finished the season on 81 points. La Rochelle were close behind on 78 points to secure the second semi final spot. Racing 92 also reached 78 points but missed out on 2nd place and a semi final due to their weaker points difference, instead they finished 3rd and entered the quarter finals. The quarter finals brought about the Parisian derby between Racing 92 and 6th place Stade Français, and the 4th vs 5th match up featured Union Bordeaux Bègles vs ASM Clermont Auvergne, with Racing and Bordeaux emerging victorious from the respective games and advancing to the next round.

In the semi finals, La Rochelle swept aside Racing with the score 19-6, and Toulouse got the better of Bordeaux, narrowly winning by 3 points with a score of 24-21.

At the other end of the table SU Agen finished the season winless, suffering 26 defeats in a row, gaining just 2 bonus points along the way. In 13th place Bayonne were level on points with Pau, but slipped into the relegation playoff with a weaker points difference. Their promotion/relegation playoff ended in disaster, losing to their bitter Basque rivals Olympic Biarritz in extra time, sending Bayonne into Pro D2 and Biarritz into the Top 14.

Top 14 League table, final standings 2020/21 Season

Who are the Finalists?

Toulouse (Stade Toulousain) are the most successful club in French and European rugby, winning 20 top flight titles since their founding, their most recent win being the 2019 title. They also hold five European Rugby Champions cups, the highest honour in European rugby, and are the current holders after winning the 2021 final in May against La Rochelle. They are also one of the most popular teams in France and one of the wealthiest in all club rugby. Le Stade have had a strong season, never dropping out of the top 4 rankings and holding 1st in the table since round 18.

La Rochelle (Stade Rochelais) have become one of the strongest teams in the league and Europe since their promotion to the Top 14 in 2013/14, but still find themselves without a major trophy. In the the leagueLes Corsaires have reached two semi finals, their first in 2016-17, when they finished 1st in the league season, and were semi finalists in 2018-19, losing to Toulouse. In European competition, La Rochelle reached the European Challenge Cup final in 2019, defeated by Clermont-Auvergne, and made it to this season's 2021 European Champions Cup, again losing to Toulouse. This season they battled for top spot all season, eventually dropping from 1st to 2nd place in round 18, unable to get back on top ahead of leaders Toulouse. 

In the league this season Le Stade have beaten the runners up twice, winning 39-23 at home at the Stade Ernest-Wallon, and then again at Stade Marcel-Deflandre in La Rochelle, coming out as 14-11 victors.

The season form points to a 21st title for the indomitable Toulouse, but La Rochelle will surely find their status as perpetual trophy bridesmaids and Champions Cup final defeat as more than enough motivation against Le Stade.

What is the Top 14?

The Top 14 is the top professional league for rugby union in France, and considered one of the best leagues in the world. It is also the wealthiest league in rugby union and its league members regularly challenge for European titles against clubs from other nations.

The league contains 14 teams and follows a double round robin format before ending in a playoff to declare the league champion. Teams receive 4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw, 0 for a defeat. There is also the possibility for teams to receive a bonus point by scoring more than four tries in a game and/or by losing than less than 7 points in the game.

The playoffs include the top six teams at the end of the regular season, with 1st and 2nd place automatically being placed in separate semi finals. Teams 3rd to 6th face each other in the quarter finals, 3rd playing 6th and 4th playing 5th. The winners of these games progress to the semi final, with the semi final winners advancing to the final at Stade de France, France's national stadium.

At the bottom of the table the club ranked 14th is automatically relegated to the Pro D2, the second tier of French rugby union, and replaced by the Pro D2 winner. 13th place in the Top 14 faces a single match promotion/relegation final against the Pro D2 runner up.

We hope you find a way to watch the match, and look out for your nearest pro side in the UK and Ireland to support your local side.

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