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, 04 December 2016
Worcester Warriors v Wasps 15h00 Sixways
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 15h00 Kingston Park
Fri, 09 December 2016
Northampton Saints v Leinster 19h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 10 December 2016
Ulster v Clermont Auvergne 13h00 Kingspan Stadium
Munster v Leicester Tigers 15h15 Thomond Park
Racing Metro v Glasgow Warriors 16h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Saracens v Sale Sharks 17h30 Allianz Park
Zebre v Toulouse 20h45 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 1 1 0 0 5
Glasgow Warriors 2 1 0 1 5
Leicester Tigers 2 1 0 1 4
Racing Metro 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Connacht 2 2 0 0 9
Wasps 2 1 1 0 7
Toulouse 2 0 1 1 3
Zebre 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 2 2 0 0 9
Toulon 2 1 0 1 4
Scarlets 2 1 0 1 4
Sale Sharks 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 2 1 0 1 6
Castres 2 1 0 1 5
Montpellier 2 1 0 1 5
Northampton Saints 2 1 0 1 4
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 2 2 0 0 10
Bordeaux 2 1 0 1 5
Ulster 2 1 0 1 4
Exeter Chiefs 2 0 0 2 1