Noves feared title would 'slip away'
June 5, 2011
David Skrela endured a high-profile off-day in the Top 14 final © Getty Images
Guy Noves has admitted that he feared the Top 14 title would 'slip away' from Toulouse after fly-half David Skrela's kicking nightmare gave Montpellier hope of a famous upset in Saturday's Stade de France finale.
Le Rouge et Noir were made to fight for every one of their 15 points by a Montpellier side emboldened by a historic play-off march, with Skrela's wayward boot contributing to some nervous moments for the now 18-times champions.
Montpellier scored the only try of the game, through winger Timoci Nagusa, but were eventually overrun as two late penalties from Nicolas Bezy, Skrela's replacement, rewarded their territorial dominance.
"You have to make your superiority count," Noves said. "When David was missing his kicks I said to myself 'it's just not possible' - it was complicated. I thought at one stage it might slip away. Finally we made our domination count."
Montpellier boss Fabien Galthie conceded that his side struggled to impose themselves on the game and that Toulouse were worthy winners.
"In the end we had difficulty keeping the ball and directing the game. Well done Toulouse, they were better than us," he said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene