Noves hopes he can stay out of ‘trouble’ with the law this time
Toulouse head coach Guy Noves knows to expect the unexpected at Murrayfield today following his dramatic pitchside arrest on his first visit in 2005.
His third Heineken Cup triumph should have been an immensely proud moment, yet the occasion was marred by a farcical and humiliating ‘misunderstanding’.
At the final whistle, an emotional Noves was eager for his son to join the celebrations on the pitch after Toulouse clinched an 18-12 win in extra time over arch-rivals Stade Francais.
But instead, the then 51-year-old was collared by over-zealous police officers as he tried to climb into the grandstand and frog-marched to the cells by six Lothian and Borders officers.
What threat the grandfather posed to the public to warrant such heavy-handed treatment can only be guessed, but while his players paraded the trophy, Noves sat for half-an-hour in Murrayfield jail.
Seven years on, Noves can look back with a wry smile. He said: “It will be interesting to return to Murrayfield. The first time I went there was for the Heineken Cup final against Stade Francais in 2005 and I ended up in jail.
“I had invited him [his son, who was in the stand] to join us on the pitch at the end of the game, but the safety agents disagreed. I tried to explain to them but apparently we have had a misunderstanding.”
He quipped: “There were so many of them [police officers] because two was not enough.”
Noves added: “It’s all forgotten now. It’s a fantastic stadium and I’m sure this will be a magnificent occasion. Hopefully I will stay out of trouble this time.
“If I could leave the stadium in similar circumstances, with police officers but with a victory, then I would sign up right away.”
This time Noves insists he has other reasons for trepidation. He added: “If I am worried about anything it is Edinburgh’s will-power to keep going in the Heineken Cup after their impressive pool stage with only one defeat. To win away in this competition is tremendously difficult and they did it twice. It is proof of the quality of the team.
“I watched them at Racing Metro in Paris without realising we would play them in the quarter-finals. They were impressive and played complete rugby. People think they have a lack of power with their forwards but Racing have a big pack and Edinburgh dominated them.
“Edinburgh are representing Scottish rugby, which is actually in a positive time despite the Six Nations.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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