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Like father, like son: Brennan and Ntamack emulate their fathers by winning Champions Cup

The Brennans and Ntamacks are the only two father-son combinations to achieve the feat in its 29-year history

Adorning the big screen not long after the final whistle, Romain Ntamack was in conversation with his father Emile, having emulated his dad for a second time in earning a Champions Cup winners medal. Up in the stands was another proud father, after Josh Brennan had emulated his dad Trevor in also winning a Champions Cup with Toulouse.

The Brennans and Ntamacks are the only two father-son combinations to achieve the feat in its 29-year history. This is the latest chapter in the remarkable story of the Brennans, via Leixlip to Toulouse.

Brennan senior decamped from Leinster to the French giants in 2002, and was part of the Toulouse sides that won the then Heineken Cup in both 2003 and 2005. That was before Josh’s firth birthday and the family having stayed there ever since, he has emulated his brother Dan in earning an Under-20 World Cup winners medal.

The 22-year-old lock/flanker was the only Toulouse player to force his way into the match-day 23 compared to their semi-final win over Harlequins, thanks to his performance at openside in their win away to Montpellier seven days before this final.


Along with the 21-year-old centre Paul Costes, Brennan is in the vanguard of a crop of young players who have injected fresh energy into the Toulouse squad, and this was his 21st appearance of the season; the only pity being that a failed HIA restricted him to just the last 11 minutes of normal time after being replaced ahead of extra time.

“I spoke to Josh afterwards and I told him how far he has come and how he has such a long way to go,” said Emmanuel Meafou afterwards. “He is going to be a great player.

“He did really well, he is a really good player and it was unfortunate he got that bang [HIA]. He really is part of this team and will be for a long time I’d say.”

By the time a phalanx of Toulouse players made it into the mixed zone, Leinster had been well gone. For Will Connors, this was only a fourth Champions Cup start, but his third of this campaign, although there was no consolation in that.

Satisfied to be back on days like this, or pissed off today?

“There may be a day I look back at appreciate it. Again I look up and see my family there, my girlfriend, they stand by you for everything and that’s all you can ask for. Look it’s hard to look back on this day with any kind of joy. But to look up in the crowd and see them and know that they’re hurting with you, that’s all you can ask for.”

Connors also paid tribute to the volume of Leinster supporters, which have backed them in huge numbers, especially on this run to the final and again in north London.

“It was incredible. You look at the way flights spiked up over the last week, with the FA Cup, with everything, they still found a way here. I’d say people nearly swam across to get here. That’s incredible to have that support. They are always with us, even look at our attendances over the last few years, look at Croke Park, you go around the Hill, you go out today and we couldn’t hear ourselves, that’s incredible to have that support. All we can ask is they stand by us and they always do, we’re going to keep giving our best to do it for our families, to do it for Leinster, that’s all we can ask for.”

The flanker also echoed the defiance coming from the Leinster dressing-room that they will be back.

“We’ve got the quality, you look at even lads who weren’t playing today, top quality players who are chomping at the bit to play top end rugby. Even just across the back row, the likes of James Culhane who is only new into the system, they’ve incredible futures ahead of them.

“With the players that are still here, everyone is going to group together again. We come together, we put our best foot forward for the URC, we do everything we can to bring a trophy home with us. We set out this year to do the double and look it’s not over yet for us.”

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times