Habana eyes 'historic' double

Sat, 26 Apr 2014 08:13
Large habana toulon.jpg630

Springbok wing Bryan Habana says that Toulon are going all-out to win both the French Top 14 and the European Cup and 'create history'.
 

Springbok wing Bryan Habana says that Toulon are going all-out to win both the French Top 14 and the European Cup and 'create history'.

Munster hope the record-setting experience of 11 European Cup semifinals will help derail the galacticos of defending champions Toulon in Sunday's last-four showdown in Marseille.

The return of Springbok wing Habana from a hamstring strain is the only change from the side which started the quarterfinal win over Leinster.

Wilkinson who was hurt in the match against Leinster, has also recovered from injury and will start at flyhalf.

Habana, who has endured a stop-start career in France, believes the double is still on for Toulon.

"We are definitely going all out on both fronts," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"If you want to be part of a club that can create history you have got to lay everything down on the line.

"It is a tall ask, of course, for players but at Toulon we have so many to choose from and they are all playing fantastic rugby.

"In the southern hemisphere, you only have one competition at a time, so you can put all your emphasis on that and then go back to the drawing board for the second one.

"It is a lot more difficult here...Doing the double would be something amazing, something historic," he added.

The Irish side, champions in 2006 and 2008, have revenge on their minds having lost 26-9 the last time the two teams met in the tournament in 2011.

But they face a daunting task against a Toulon side bolstered by a pair of all-time great backs in Jonny Wilkinson and Bryan Habana.

"It's going to be very tough, but that's what the competition is at this stage," said Munster and Ireland veteran lock Paul O'Connell.

"Toulon have incredible talent all across the team. They have recruited really well - world-class players that love living in Toulon and playing for Toulon. When you see the way they play it's an incredibly tough task for us."

Munster have lost their last three European Cup semifinals but with Toulon missing key forwards Ali Williams and Bakkies Botha, O'Connell believes his side can end that sequence on Sunday despite the match taking place in France.

"I think for this team - at the moment anyway - being away from home and having the odds against us probably suits us," he said.

Hooker Damien Varley will skipper Munster while openside flank Donnacha Ryan, who has a foot injury, is replaced by Sean Dougall.

Coach Rob Penney also keeps faith with the front five that started the quarterfinal win over Toulouse.

Meanwhile Toulon will be bidding to go one better than last season by completing a Top 14-European Cup double after falling in the 2013 domestic final to Castres.

Munster, meanwhile, will field a player who could have slipped comfortably into any French side had family history taken a different path.

Wing Simon Zebo has an Irish mother but his father, Arthur was born in the French overseas region of Martinique.

Arthur Zebo was an accomplished 800 metres runner who was set to represent France at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal before injury curtailed his dreams.

"Simon is an artist, not the typical Irish player. He has a lot of the French in him," joked Munster backs coach Simon Mannix.

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Hamilton
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Kings v Highlanders 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Lions v Sharks 17h10 Johannesburg
Jaguares v Bulls 21h40 Buenos Aires
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 6 0 0 28
Ulster 6 4 0 2 18
Oyonnax 6 1 0 5 7
Toulouse 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 6 3 0 3 16
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 16
Ospreys 6 3 0 3 16
Clermont Auvergne 6 3 0 3 15
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Racing Metro 6 4 1 1 22
Northampton Saints 6 4 1 1 19
Glasgow Warriors 6 3 0 3 14
Scarlets 6 0 0 6 2
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leicester Tigers 6 5 0 1 23
Stade Francais 6 4 0 2 19
Munster 6 3 0 3 15
Treviso 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 0 2 20
Toulon 6 5 0 1 20
Bath 6 2 0 4 10
Leinster 6 1 0 5 6