Toulon lose Wallabies star Giteau for three weeks

Matt Giteau starts at flyhalf this weekend

Toulon have suffered a blow ahead of a crucial string of European Cup matches as they will be without their Australian playmaker Matt Giteau for at least the next three weeks

Toulon coach Bernard Laporte revealed on Friday that the European Rugby Champions will have to contest their upcoming matches without the playmaker.

Giteau has been struggling with a groin injury since last season’s Top 14 semi-final against Stade Francais, Laporte said.

“Apparently it’s not a groin strain,” the coach said. “But when he plays, he suffers after half-time.”

Quade Cooper will likely replace Giteau against Bath in the European Cup on Sunday, while Frederic Michalak’s comeback from injury could be hurried through to provide extra cover.

Toulon are three-time defending champions in the tournament, but the match against Bath is a game both sides must win or almost certainly see their knock-out hopes end.

Both have two wins and a defeat from three games but trail Pool 5 leaders Wasps by six points. As neither side have picked up any bonus points yet, defeat would make winning the group virtually impossible while also rendering the chances of taking one of the two qualifying second place finishes negligible.

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