We have to use our squad for the whole season
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has hit back at critics of his unbeaten side as the Top 14 leaders get set to play defending champions Toulouse on Saturday with what is expected to be a weakened line-up.
"If people think we are going to throw away this match, they are going to be surprised," the 52-year-old businessman told AFP.
"We have to use our squad for the whole season and with the European Cup approaching and this match not being a final, there is no reason not to give playing time to other squad members."
Coach Bernard Laporte is expected to give the day off to several of his star players as the team prepare to open their European Cup campaign which begins on October 14 with a home match against Montpellier.
"Bernard has been talking about this for a while now and we are all in agreement," said Boudjellal.
"The season is long and there is no point being top of the league for 26 matches and then to lose a semi-final," continued Boudjellal, who has not decided whether he will attend Saturday's clash.
"I love Toulouse and I love the Municipal Stadium but I don't think I'll be going.
"You never know, it's not so far from Toulon and if on Saturday morning I feel like taking the car, I'll go as a spectator. Saying that, each time I've been to Toulouse, we've won and as I'm superstitious ...."
Toulon, unbeaten after six games, lead the Top 14 standings with 27 points, seven points ahead of third-place Toulouse.
* Injury-hit French giants Toulouse named forwards coach William Servat as a standby squad member, manager Guy Noves said.
"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 Bordeaux-Begles' Heini Adams and Justin Purll have been ruled out of the Top 14 trip to Agen this weekend, coach Raphael Ibanez said on Tuesday.
South African scrum-half Adams received a few knocks in their 23-15 loss to Montpellier at the weekend, while Australian lock Purll has a torn adductor muscle.
Romanian prop Silviu Florea (elbow), France prop Nicolas Decamps (knee) and Tongan centre Andrew Mailei (broken hand) are also on the injury list.
Bordeaux-Begles are 12th in the Top 14 after six games.