Laporte wants more of the same

Sat, 29 Dec 2012 08:12
Large fredericmichalakfrance Large guy noves toulouse Large alexispalissonstade

Top 14 leaders Toulon enter the second half of the season on Sunday with coach Bernard Laporte calling for more of the same from his men.

Top 14 leaders Toulon enter the second half of the season on Sunday with coach Bernard Laporte calling for more of the same from his men.

The multi-talented Mediterranean side are currently on a roll that saw them defeat bogey side Agen 15-9 away last weekend. That put them seven points clear of second-placed Clermont with reigning champions Toulouse trailing a further two points back.

On paper the visit of seventh-place Perpignan to the Stade Mayol on Sunday should not be cause for too much concern, but Laporte, who was national team coach from 1999 to 2007 and then in government as secretary of state for sport, is wary.

"We have finished on top in the first half of the season, but that is far from an end to the matter," he said.

"What matters most now is to stay top in the second half of the season. That is what we are aiming to do and we have a favourable fixture list as we have eight home games out of 13.

"We will look to go on the attack against Perpignan, but when you look at the squad they have, they are a very good team and we need to take them very seriously indeed."

Back into the mix for Toulon come international wing Alexis Palisson, who has been sidelined with a back injury since early October, and back-to-form flyhalf Frederic Michalak, who was rested last weekend after his fine performances in France's November Test matches.

Clermont, who edged Bordeaux away 28-24 last weekend, welcome Bayonne, who scored a fine 39-13 home win over bottom-side Mont-de-Marsan.

The Auvergne side have injury concerns over veteran international wing Aurelien Rougerie, who has a long-standing back problem, as well as hooker Benjamin Kayser and Samoan centre Benson Stanley, who both have been laid low with a virus.

Toulouse were also missing several top players when they resumed training on Wednesday ahead of the tough trip to Castres, who are currently level with Guy Noves's side in third place on 42 points.

Injuries apart, they will be without key players Yannick Nyanga, Yoann Huget, Louis Picamoles, Yoann Maestri and Census Johnston, all of whom are obliged to take a break after international duties.

The loss to Grenoble last weekend was the second in a row for Toulouse following the away defeat against Ospreys in the European Cup and Castres forwards coach Laurent Labit has promised them no mercy on Sunday.

"I have every respect in the world for this club, but we will have no complexes against them as we know that we have some good qualities of our own," he said.

In other games fifth-place Montpellier host Stade Francais, Grenoble take on Bordeaux, Racing Metro look to bounce back at home to Agen and Mont-de-Marsan seek what would be just their second win of the season at home to Biarritz.

Sunday, December 30:
Racing Metro v Agen
Mont-de-Marsan v Biarritz
Grenoble v Bordeaux
Clermont v Bayonne
Castres v Toulouse
Montpellier v Stade Francais
Toulon v Perpignan

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
TOP 14
MORE LOGS