Sale ready to face rugby's 'Barcelona'

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 07:37
Large toulon flag in stand 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Sale boss Steve Diamond has said his side will be up against Rugby Union's answer to football superpower Barcelona when they face Toulon in the European Champions Cup on Friday.

French side Toulon will be eager to bounce back after losing at home for the first time in major European competition last weekend following a defeat by Saracens, the reigning English and European champions.

Toulon, three-times kings of Europe, boast a wealth of talent that includes Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny, Springbok wing Bryan Habana and New Zealand World Cup winner Ma'a Nonu.

A second defeat in a row would leave their hopes of qualification for the knockout stage hanging by a thread and Sale, beaten last week by Welsh side Scarlets, hope to inflict more damage on the big-spenders at their base in Salford, near Manchester.

"In football terms it's a bit like Barcelona coming to town because Toulon are the biggest club in world rugby. We'll see how good they are on Friday night," said Diamond.

"Toulon are the biggest spending team in the world. They're the most successful side over the last five years and we're fortunate enough to have them in the group," the Sale Director of Rugby added.

"You can see how prominent that is by the size of the crowd - there's 8,000 tickets sold and the Manchester public come out to watch the big teams. There's no bigger than Toulon.

"Toulon have everything to do. They've got to come to Manchester on a wet, windy night to beat us and get a bonus point - so the pressure is on them.

"The players have got a game plan to put in place and if they get that right and put in a really good performance, then perhaps we'll get a win.

"By virtue of us not losing many games over the last four years at home, it makes it a difficult place for sides to come to.

"Toulon were beaten last week taking no points so the pressure is on them really.

"We've just got to do what we do well and perform at the highest level and if we do that we've got a chance."

Agence France-Presse

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Sun, 19 November 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 14h00 Sandy Park
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
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Fri, 24 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Ulster v Treviso 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
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Cardiff Blues v Connacht 18h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 18h45 Kingston Park
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 18h45 Welford Road
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 25 November 2017
Bath v Harlequins 11h15 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Cardiff
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
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France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 14h00 Madejski Stadium
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 2 2 0 0 10
Wasps 2 1 0 1 5
Ulster 2 1 0 1 4
Harlequins 2 0 0 2 1
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 2 2 0 0 10
Clermont Auvergne 2 2 0 0 9
Ospreys 2 0 0 2 3
Northampton Saints 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 2 2 0 0 10
Exeter Chiefs 2 2 0 0 8
Montpellier 2 0 0 2 3
Glasgow Warriors 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leicester Tigers 2 1 0 1 6
Munster 2 1 1 0 6
Racing Metro 2 1 0 1 5
Castres 2 0 1 1 3
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Bath 2 2 0 0 8
Toulon 2 2 0 0 8
Scarlets 2 0 0 2 2
Treviso 2 0 0 2 1