Toulouse embrace Toulon test

Tue, 25 Sep 2012 08:44
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Toulouse president Jean-Rene Bouscatel said that the champions are not intimidated as they prepare to take on runaway Top 14 leaders Toulon at the weekend.

Toulouse president Jean-Rene Bouscatel said that the champions are not intimidated as they prepare to take on runaway Top 14 leaders Toulon at the weekend.

"Toulon are impressive, but we're not impressed too much," joked Bouscatel about Toulon, who are unbeaten in their first six matches.

The Toulouse chief expressed admiration for his side's title rivals, but warned that it was too early to draw conclusions about the race for the Top 14 crown.

"We are amazed by such high-class individuals. It seems that this year things are starting to gel," he said.

"They have definitely got the best start, but the championship is long. They're a team who, like four or five others, have the weapons to go all the way. But do not forget Racing, Castres and Clermont."

Toulouse are seven points behind Toulon after six games.

"Whenever we lose a game, we're used to hearing that a crisis is brewing," said Bouscatel. "Well, actually, it's been 20 years since we last had a crisis, but we can't stop people thinking what they want.

"Honestly, I was not more worried after we lost to Perpignan (20-34) any more than I'm reassured after our 35-6 win over Bayonne.

"You have to keep your head, which I've been trying to do for several years, and I have to say that this has worked quite well for us."

Meanwhile, coach Guy Noves has named forwards coach William Servat as a standby squad member as they prepare for their European Cup campaign.

The French international hooker may have to stand in as they take on Europe's best as hookers Gary Botha and Christopher Tolofua are both battling with injuries.

"When we saw Christopher (Tolofua) in difficulty with his shoulder and Gary Botha injured we were left with just one high quality hooker," said Noves, who noted that "William Servat, who trains regularly, could perhaps be the solution."

Former international Servat, nicknamed Monsieur Indestructible, hung up his boots earlier this year after spending all of an 18-year career at the club but could now make a temporary comeback after the club asked for a players licence for him.

"It will take three months to get William Servat to his best level - for now it's just backup," explained Noves.

South African Botha has ankle trouble, hence the move to bring three-time European champion Servat back into the picture.

Meanwhile, flyhalf Lionel Beauxis has been ruled out for between three and four weeks after suffering a foot injury during his club's 35-6 win against Bayonne in the Top 14 at the weekend.

Noves confirmed the extent of the injury on Monday after the 26-year-old underwent an MRI scan.


AFP

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