|Patricio Albacete |
3 time French Champion
The most successful club in the history of French rugby continued its legacy this afternoon as Toulouse defeated Toulon 18-12 in the 2011-2012 Top 14 Final in Paris. It was a grand occasion for French and global rugby with Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, New Zealand, Samoa and South Africa all having international players on the park. However, the rugby was not ideal with neither side able to score a try. Toulon should have won with a try, however, in the final minutes but New Zealand´s David Smith butchered a try as he failed to grasp a clean pass as he had two players outside him and only one defender. The mistake proved fatal and in the end meant defeat. Earlier Toulon missed two long range penalty attempts with the ball, on both occassions, not reaching the posts but having the perfect direction.
Toulouse´s former All Blacks flyhalf, Luke McAlister slotted six penalties while former English World Cup winning flyhalf, Jonny Wilkinson landed four. Both teams had a leading Pumas player on the field for the full 80 minutes. Patricio Albacete had a high workrate around the field, regularly being the first player to the ruck to assist his ball carriers. His contribution to Toulouse rugby is nothing short of legendary as he has now won three French Top 14 titles and one Heineken Cup crown too. He is a contender for the Pumas captaincy and has captained Toulouse on occassion. He was pulled by Toulouse and France´captain, Thierry Dusautoir to follow him and the retiring William Servat to be the third Toulouse player to receive the championship medal today.
Toulon had Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe on the park who played very well. The Pumas Rugby World Cup 2011 vice captain is considered to be the captain in waiting, with Felipe Contepomi not going to play in The Rugby Championship. He was impressive in the French final as a tackler, ball carrier, ruck clearer and lineout jumper. His all around attributed have seen him previously named as the best number 8 in the Top 14 and he has is, without question, one of the best in the game.