Toulouse's Emile Ntamack has felt Wasps' sting in the past
Star centre Emile Ntamack says Toulouse have Heineken Cup final opponents London Wasps to thank for their recent domination of European rugby.
The two heavyweights face off in the Cup final at Twickenham on Sunday, and veteran Ntamack says a heavy defeat to Wasps eight years ago set Toulouse on their way to last season's Cup final win over Perpignan.
'Our defeat to Wasps in 1996 is the reason we are where we are today,' he said. 'When we lost 77-17, it was a huge lesson to us. It made us sit up and decide where we wanted to go as a team.
'To lose by that margin, but also the way in which we were comprehensively beaten, hurt us a lot and me in particular. That Wasps team played at an incredible rhythm that day and it taught us a lot about where rugby was going.
'It seems there is a culture for fast, running rugby at London Wasps and even though the players have changed a lot since then, they have kept up that reputation.'
Ntamack said he was looking forward to defending the prestigious title.
'It would be a great reward to win on Sunday and partly because of that heavy defeat which I certainly haven't forgotten.
'I'm sure all the team will be pushing behind me in order to wipe out that memory.
'I'm thrilled that we are going to be playing in front of such a large, mixed crowd. When you get 75,000 people at Twickenham, it creates such an amazing atmosphere and for a club match that is something really special.'