RugbyThe Offload

Fancy Leinster to make four consecutive finals? You can buy tickets for next year’s showpiece

Toulouse’s Jack Willis has game to remember in Champions Cup final

Are Leinster fans willing to have their heart broken again?

So, you didn’t go to London because you didn’t want to mortgage the house to pay for the miserably expensive flights and accommodation in the capital because you left it late to decide to support Leinster in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium? Never mind, for next year folk can be prudent about it if they wish by acting now and buying tickets for the 2025 final.

The EPCR are already advertising the showpiece Investec Champions Cup final, which is set for Saturday, May 24th, 2025 with the Challenge Cup final the day before.

It begs the question whether Leinster fans have the appetite to back the team to get to a fourth European final in succession and organise their tickets now for the Cardiff final. The reality this year was that there were very few seats available for Irish fans to purchase, when Leinster beat Northampton to their place against Toulouse.

As the organisers of the Champions Cup point out: “It will be the 30th final of EPCR’s elite competition, with the trophy returning to the Welsh capital for the eighth time since the inaugural 1995-96 season when Stade Toulousain lifted the trophy.”


They are already offering Early Bird tickets whereby you can spend the weekend in Cardiff and attend Friday’s Challenge Cup final and Saturday’s Champions Cup final, with category A tickets costing £159 (€185) all in. Category B tickets for both matches are set at £129.25 (€150) for the package.

The chances of Leinster getting there again, based on the history of the tournament, are slight as no team since the first match was played in Cardiff Arms Park has been to four successive Champions Cup finals, although some including the weekend’s winner Toulouse have come close.

Toulouse made it to three finals in a row with the first of those coming in 2002-03, when they beat Perpignan in Lansdowne Road 22-17. They then lost to Wasps the next year in Twickenham 27-20 before beating Stade Francais 18-12 in the third year in a match that went to extra time at Murrayfield.

French club Toulon also made it to three finals in succession between 2012-13 and 2015 and unlike Leinster, won all three games. They beat Clermont 16-15 in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, Saracens 23-6 in Cardiff and Clermont for a second time 24-18 in Twickenham.

However, no club has made it to four consecutive European finals leaving Leinster fans with a conundrum. They will again be expected to be one of the favourite teams next season to get though to the final stages. But is anyone going to put their money where their mouth is and make moves on the Early Bird tickets just a few days after losing a final in such a heartbreaking way?


“Everyone is devastated. We’ve been on the losing side on a few occasions now. We need to see what we’re all made of now, as hard as that will be. We’ll process it and move on. It comes down to the finest thing. There was a drop goal at the end and if that goes a metre to the right then we’re having a very different conversation here. That’s the nature of sport at the top end.” – Leinster coach Leo Cullen.

Jack Willis has a dream final for Toulouse

If Leinster’s weekend was disappointing, spare a thought for a wildly happy Jack Willis, who joined Toulouse in November 2022 under extreme circumstances. Willis left England and Wasps for a new job after Wasps entered administration and the club collapsed with debts of millions and the players were left to sort out their careers.

But the former England player has proved a major success since signing for the French giants in the wake of the financial collapse of the Coventry-based side.

Maybe the most sought-after signature, Willis has quickly become an important part of Ugo Mola’s Stade Toulousain squad and at the weekend was one of their outstanding players. The international dominated the breakdowns as Toulouse won a remarkable 19 turnovers with Willis also delivering an outstanding defensive display.

The flanker made a match-high 29 tackles for the Les Rouge et Noir, which was more than double the amount of hits made by Leinster’s leading tackler Caelan Doris, who made 14 during the final.

“With a couple of minutes to go, we obviously go into extra time, having nothing in the tank, to be honest with you,” said Willis after the match. “But I think we believed we could do it. We have an unbelievable respect for Leinster, what a team they are. It was tough to get over the gainline, put it that way. Every time you carry you feel like you got melted, and we were trying our best to do the same.

“It was so tough what we went through at Wasps,” he said. “I miss so much about Wasps every day. I miss playing with my best mates, I miss playing with my brother.”

From a player with no club to a European champion in less than two seasons, it’s not a bad bounce back.



The time on the clock at Tottenham Hotspur stadium when Ciaran Frawley took his drop kick to win the Champions Cup against Toulouse. The ball drifted left of the posts driving the match into extra time.