Guy Noves has seen and done almost everything possible in the Heineken Cup, but even he and his four-times champion club Toulouse are within striking distance of a new landmark after making it 10 wins in a row.
Only two teams in the 16-year history of the tournament have reached double figures in terms of successive victories – Munster with 13 and Leicester Tigers with 11.
Munster’s record breaking run came over the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons and included their first title triumph at the Millennium Stadium in 2006. After losing to Sale Sharks in their opening Pool match of the 2005/06 campaign they then won eight straight games.
They then won five straight Pool matches before losing their only game to date at Thomond Park in Round 6 of the 2006/07 season against Leicester Tigers.
That 13-match winning streak overtook the 11 game run that saw the Tigers crowned champions in Paris in 2001. Their sequence began in Round 4 of the 2000/01 season after their defeat at Pontypridd.
They recovered to go on to beat Stade Français Paris in the final at Parc des Princes and then added five straight Pool wins the next season before losing to Llanelli at Stradey Park. That defeat didn’t affect their march to another final and on their return to Wales for the Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium they became the first team to successfully defend the title.
Now Toulouse, who won the Heineken Cup for the fourth time at Stade de France in May, are almost half-way to matching that achievement after their fourth successive victory this season in Pool 6 with their 36-10 triumph over Glasgow Warriors.
That made it 10 wins on the trot, a French record overtaking Brive’s nine wins in 1996/97 and 1997/98, and they now have 17 points from four wins this season – one of only two unbeaten records to date with Northampton Saints.
Can they go past Munster by reaching the semi-finals this season? And can they match Leicester’s back-to-back titles?
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