Friday, 12 December 2014

Team for Toulon named

Tigers head to Toulon this weekend looking to cause a major upset against the defending double European Champions in their own backyard.  Richard Cockerill has made three changes to the side that won at Welford Road on Sunday whilst Bernard Laporte, his Toulon counterpart, has reacted to Castrogiovanni's outburst by dropping the combustible Italian.

All three changes for Leicester come to the pack that laid last weekend's winning foundation.  In the front row Tom Youngs swops places with Italian international Leonardo Ghiraldini; at lock Graham Kitchener misses out injured giving Geoff Parling his first start since September; in the back row Robert Barbieri starts only his 4th game for the club as Jordan Crane is benched.

This means that Ben Youngs and Owen Williams continue at half back, with Matt Smith staying in the midfield and Goneva on the wing.  The back line is rounded out with Allen at centre, Blaine Scully on the wing and Mat Tait looking to match the performance of his last visit to Toulon from full back.

The bench sees a 6-2 forwards-backs split to accommodate the return to fitness of Tom Croft.  The Lion joins Tom Youngs, Sebastian de Chaves & Jordan Crane as additions to the bench whilst Miles Benjamin misses out.  Freddie Burns & Sam Harrison provide cover for the backs.

Toulon have reacted to their defeat by also making three changes.  Out go Castrogiovanni, Australian wing Drew Mitchell & Georgian flanker Mamuka Gorgodze.  In comes Leigh Halfpenny, South African World Cup winner Juan Smith and young Georgian tyro Levan Chilachava.  Former Bath man Michael Claassens comes onto the bench for Eric Esconde.

15 Mat Tait
14 Blaine Scully
13 Matt Smith
12 Anthony Allen
11 Vereniki Goneva
10 Owen Williams
9 Ben Youngs (c)
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini
3 Dan Cole
4 Brad Thorn
5 Geoff Parling
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Julian Salvi
8 Robert Barbieri

16 Tom Youngs
17 Michele Rizzo
18 Fraser Balmain
19 Sebastian de Chaves
20 Jordan Crane
21 Tom Croft
22 Sam Harrison
23 Freddie Burns

RC Toulon:
15 Leigh Halfpenny
14 Delon Armitage
13 Mathieu Bastareaud
12 Maxime Mermoz
11 Bryan Habana
10 Nicolas Sanchez
9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde
1 Alexandre Menini
2 Guilhem Guirado
3 Levan Chilachava
4 Bakkies Botha
5 Ali Williams
6 Juan Smith
7 Steffon Armitage
8 Chris Masoe (c)

16 Jean-Charles Orioli
17 Florian Fresia
18 Carl Hayman
19 Mamuka Gorgodze
20 James O'Connor
21 Jocelino Suta
22 Michael Claassens
23 Romain Taofifenua

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