Toulon wary of facing Leicester Tigers in Rd.3

Defending two-time European Rugby champions Toulon face a tough match in this weekend’s third round European Rugby matches as they must face Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

Toulon’s fellow French rugby giants Clermont will travel to former champions Munster while Racing-Metro make the trip to Wales to play Ospreys.

Toulon warmed up for the Leicester Tigers clash in Pool 3 by beating Clermont which put them back on top of the highly competitive Top 14 standings.

“This weekend it’ll be the same level as Clermont if not more against Leicester at their ground,” said Toulon hooker Guilhem Guirado.

“We’re preparing for a massive game which will be decisive for Champions Cup qualification.”

“They’re a team based around a strong forwards game. In the backline they have a lot of power and speed. They remain a very English team, strong on the basics.”

Toulon will likely leave out Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny, with Argentina’s Nicolas Sanchez taking over the fly-half role in the absence through injury of Australian duo Matt Giteau (groin) and James O’Connor (wrist).

Two-time European champions Leicester (2001, 2002) will join the elite trio of fellow former winners Leinster, Munster and Toulouse in hitting the one million home attendance mark in their 61st match at Welford Road on Sunday since making their debut in the 1996/97 season – and not missing one since.

Tigers flanker Jamie Gibson said the weekend’s game didn’t get any bigger.

“Playing against Clermont and Montpellier last year were a couple of huge games and Toulon are one of the best teams in Europe over the last few years,” Gibson said.

“You can’t play bigger games at club level. I can’t wait.”

Ulster host Scarlets in the pool’s other game, both teams having been beaten by Toulon in the first two rounds.

Last year’s beaten finalists Saracens travel to English Premiership rivals Sale in the tough Pool 1 topped by Munster ahead of Clermont.

The weekend’s entertainment gets under way when stuttering French giants Montpellier, currently mid-table in the Top 14, entertain high-flying English side Bath on Friday.

All eyes will be on whether code convert Sam Burgess makes Bath’s match-day squad after making his debut last weekend in the 25-6 Premiership victory over Harlequins.

The other game in Pool 4 sees Glasgow travel to four-time former champions Toulouse, who will be without injured playmaker and ex-All Black Luke McAlister.

Glasgow will be on a high after their victory at Montpellier, who parted ways with forwards coach Mario Ledesma after that loss.

Pool 5 sees Ospreys welcome Racing-Metro to Swansea and Northampton, who should have Wales wing George North on board, away at Treviso.

Sunday’s Pool 2 double-header features Wasps at Castres and Leinster travelling to Harlequins.

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