Stade Toulousain’s extraordinary victory against Exeter in the Champions Cup quarter-finals: Ugo Mola decodes the miraculous feat

The French rugby team's punishing schedule has been a topic of discussion for some time now.

The demanding schedule of the French rugby team #

It’s an undeniable fact that the French play far more games compared to their Irish or Anglo-Saxon counterparts. In Europe’s highest paying championship, which features 14 teams and can offer between 26 and 29 matches, not to mention the Champions Cup (between 4 and 8) and up to 8 international matches, the difference in the number of games played over a season is often dramatic.

Financial stakes are so high for the clubs that this scenario will continue until players are ready to take a pay cut to play fewer games. Looking at the benefits of a reduced number of matches in a season, one can turn towards Ireland’s unique rugby setup and England’s Premiership.

The English teams: a formidable force #

Despite the Premiership suffering a significant financial crisis that led to the reduction of teams from 12 to 10, England has emerged as a dominant force in the continental quarter, with the highest representation since 2020 (Harlequins and Northampton). Stade Toulousain, with its impressive victory over Exeter, has managed to avoid the pitfall that tripped up Bordeaux-Bègles. However, Ugo Mola, the team’s manager, did not overlook the fact that English teams seemed fresher.

À lire Testez l’huile de figue de barbarie pure

As Mola observed, « Our friends from Northampton, Harlequins, and Exeter, have played only 14 league matches compared to our 20. This freshness is something we paid for, and we’re not the only ones. The weekend wasn’t particularly smooth sailing for French teams. »

The battle for freshness #

It’s clear that Stade Toulousain had to pull off a remarkable feat, not just to qualify, but to score 9 tries and 64 points against Exeter, the 2020 winner and a semi-finalist like themselves in the last edition. Mola’s concern about the freshness of English teams is palpable. « They haven’t played the same game as us, they have regenerated, prepared and to beat them, you have to hit hard and long, » he warns.

Looking ahead to the three weeks leading up to the semi-finals, with a trip to Marseille and a home match against Racing 92 in the pipeline, Mola is focused on finding the right balance to remain competitive in the championship, without compromising their chances in the semi-finals. He acknowledges that « freshness is essential » to survive in this competition.

The key stats of Stade Toulousain’s journey in the Champions Cup are summarized below:

🔑 Key stat Value
🏉 Number of league games played 20
🏆 Position in the Champions Cup Quarter-final winners
🎯 Points scored against Exeter 64
🚀 Tries scored against Exeter 9
👊 Next opponent Harlequins


  • What is the key to Stade Toulousain’s success?According to Ugo Mola, the team’s manager, the key to their success is finding the right balance between maintaining freshness and meeting the demands of the punishing schedule.
  • Who will Stade Toulousain face in the semi-finals?Stade Toulousain will face the Harlequins in the Champions Cup semi-finals.
  • What was the score in the quarter-final match against Exeter?Stade Toulousain scored 64 points against Exeter in the quarter-finals.
  • How many tries did Stade Toulousain score against Exeter?Stade Toulousain scored 9 tries against Exeter.
  • How many league games has Stade Toulousain played so far?Stade Toulousain has played 20 league games so far.

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