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Toulouse up for Sarries challenge

Tue, 07 Jan 2014 12:26
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Toulouse skipper Thierry Dusautoir reckons last Saturday's win over ASM Clermont Auvergne will stand them in good stead for their return to European Cup action, but backs coach Jean-Baptiste Elissalde has warned that an even tougher test lie ahead against Saracens.

Europe's most successful side were 19-12 victors over last season's beaten European Cup finalists at the Stade Ernest Wallon at the weekend, the same venue at which they will host Sarries this coming Sunday.

A converted first-half try from France flyer Maxime Medard proved decisive as Toulouse made it nine home wins from nine in the Top 14 to move to within six points of their league leading opponents.

"It's good to beat the leaders Clermont during this period where we weren't playing very good rugby. That gives us a boost before the visit of Saracens," said Dusautoir, whose team have endured seven straight domestic defeats on the road and were beaten at home by Connacht in the European Cup last month.

Elissalde hopes that a boost is exactly what it gives his side in the run up to a fixture that looks set to decide who finishes top of Pool 3 but he isn't getting carried away by any means.

Toulouse were way below par when losing to Connacht in Round 3, just as they were in defeat at Bayonne the week before last, and the former European Cup winning scrum-half knows that more hard work lies ahead.

"It was important to win to keep our spot in the top six in the table and to get our morale back. But what we will face next weekend when we play Saracens will be on a higher level that what we saw against Clermont," added Elissalde.

"It was a precious success, although it wasn't necessarily vital. It was very important that we saw a reaction after a very poor performance in the game in Bayonne.

"Everyone worked very hard last week to put things right and the players perhaps put themselves in a different frame of mind because they were a bit more afraid of Clermont and what they could do. Doing the simple things well often proves most efficient."

Source: ERC

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