Munster v Toulouse: Teams
At the Millennium Stadium, Saturday May 24, live on Sky Sports 3 from 4.30pm
By Joe Drabble. Last Updated: 24/05/08 4:47pm
Two giants of European rugby go head-to-head in one of the most eagerly anticipated Heineken Cup finals for some time.
The brawn of Munster meets the flair of Toulouse as both side's look to add to their already glistening trophy cabinets at a sold-out Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
It was Toulouse who won the very first Heineken title back in 1996, and from there they have continued to showcase their quality on the European stage - accumulating a total of three titles along the way.
Munster's own affiliation with the tournament is a story of its own, a unique quest for their very own Holy Grail that finally came to an end in 2006 when they overcame a stubborn Biarritz to send Limerick into ecstasy.
Declan Kidney, in his last game as Munster's head coach, has kept faith with the same starting XV that secured the semi-final win over Saracens.
That means Peter Stringer will have to settle for a place on the bench as Tomas O'Leary continues at scrum-half.
The formidable back row once again consists of Alan Quinlan, David Wallace and Denis Leamy, with young Donnacha Ryan providing cover from the bench meaning Anthony Foley, who retires at the end of the season, will have to take a seat in the stands.
Donncha O'Callaghan gets the nod ahead of Mick O'Driscoll in the second row, and he partners captain Paul O'Connell. Behind the pack the impressive Rua Tipoki continues his partnership with Lifeimi Mafi.
Toulouse team news
Head coach Guy Novès has selected Jean-Baptiste Elissalde at fly-half, and he partners former All Black Byron Kelleher at half-back.
There had been speculation that Valentin Courrent would don the No.10 jersey, but instead Novès keeps faith with the French scrum-half in the pivotal position.
Maxime Medard and Yves Donguy line up on the wings, neither of whom have ever played in a final, let alone a Heineken Cup final. However with Cédric Heymans at full-back they will have plenty of guidance and support in attack.
Fabien Pelous will captain the side from the second row in what is a fearsome pack. South African-born Shaun Sowerby packs down at number eight with Thierry Dusautoir taking the openside berth, with Yannick Nyanga forced onto the bench.
Toulouse: 15 Cédric Heymans, 14 Maxime Medard, 13 Maleli Kunavore, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Yves Donguy, 10 Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, 9 Byron Kelleher; 1 Dan Human, 2 William Servat, 3 Salvatore Perugini, 4 Fabien Pelous (c), 5 Patricio Albacete, 6 Jean Bouilhou, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 8 Shaun Sowerby.
Replacements: 16 Alberto Vernet Basualdo, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Romain Millo-Chluski, 19 Yannick Nyanga, 20 Florian Fritz, 21 Manu Ahotaeiloa, 22 Valentin Courrent.
Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Rua Tipoki, 11 Ian Dowling, 10 Ronan O'Gara 9 Tomas O'Leary; 1 Marcus Horan, 2 Jerry Flannery, 3 John Hayes, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 5 Paul O'Connell (c), 6 Alan Quinlan, 7 David Wallace, 8 Dennis Leamy.
Replacements: 16 Frankie Sheahan, 17 Tony Buckley, 18 Mick O'Driscoll, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Peter Stringer, 21 Paul Warwick, 22 Keith Earls.
Heineken Cup Final
Jonny Wilkinson has capped a triumphant Heineken Cup campaign with Toulon by being named European player of the year.
There will be new name engraved on the Heineken Cup trophy on Saturday when Toulon take on Clermont.
Donncha O'Callaghan remained unapologetic as Munster put efficiency before entertainment to beat Toulouse.