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Toby Flood sings La Marseillaise as Toulouse show solidarity over Paris attacks

Published 15/11/2015

Former England fly-half Toby Flood joined his Toulouse team-mates in an emotional tribute to victims of the Paris terror attacks
Former England fly-half Toby Flood joined his Toulouse team-mates in an emotional tribute to victims of the Paris terror attacks

England international Toby Flood has commended "a fantastic show of solidarity" by four-time European champions Toulouse after they paid an emotional tribute to the Paris terror attack victims.

Flood joined his Toulouse team-mates in singing the French national anthem La Marseillaise on a rain-swept north London evening before the European Champions Cup opener against Saracens at Allianz Park.

They were the only French team in Champions Cup action this weekend, with games scheduled to be hosted by Racing 92, Oyonnax, Bordeaux-Begles and Toulon all postponed by tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby and French domestic rugby chiefs Ligue Nationale de Rugby following the Paris atrocities that left more than 120 dead.

Unsurprisingly, it looked as though the Toulouse players' minds were elsewhere during much of a Pool One encounter they lost 32-7 - their heaviest defeat in European competition since 2006 - and Flood admitted it had been a difficult day.

"We decided to (sing the anthem) during the day, and there was a bit of learning of words for me, but it was a fantastic show of solidarity," he said.

" However much it hurts to lose this game, it has been a pretty tough 24-48 hours for all those guys who have got friends and family who live in Paris and have lots of connections there.

"I think the guys actually wanted to play. They wanted to show they were ready for the game. But it was certainly a game that we realised the importance of, being the only French side to play."

EPCR says the four postponed Champions Cup games due to be played on French soil this weekend - Oyonnax versus Ulster, Racing 92 against Glasgow, Toulon's appointment with Bath and Bordeaux-Begles versus Clermont Auvergne - will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

It will, though, require some rejigging of European and domestic fixtures schedules. Bath, for instance, do not have a free weekend until early April, and that is only if they fail to make the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

EPCR chairman Simon Halliday said: "It simply would not have been appropriate in the tragic circumstances to have staged the French-based games this weekend.

"We trust that the clubs and their fans who travelled abroad will understand why we took this decision in conjunction with the LNR.

"We are working to reschedule the postponed matches in what is already a crowded rugby calendar, and we hope to be in a position to announce the new dates next week."

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