Toulon and Cardiff Blues set for Heineken Cup meeting.
Toulon meet Cardiff Blues in the second round of the European Cup on Sunday a revamped side from the one that lost the Challenge Cup final to the Welsh region three seasons ago.
Only six players in the current Toulon squad, including English legend Jonny Wilkinson and ex-Springbok Joe van Niekerk, were present when the Mediterranean club went down 28-21 to the Blues in Marseille in May 2010.
Since then Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal, who made his fortune from the comic book industry, has invested heavily in the well-supported club, bringing in a raft of big names in a bid for Top 14 and European success.
“I remember it very well,” said Jocelino Suta, Toulon’s Vanuatu-born lock who has just received a call-up to the France squad ahead of the November internationals.
“We were in it in the first half but the game turner was Jonny’s exit (with a back injury in the 47th minute).
“Without him, we didn’t manage the kicking game well against a team that played all the balls and all kicks right though to the final whistle.”
Aside from Suta, Wilkinson and Van Niekerk, the other Toulon players present were hooker Sebastien Bruno, Georgian prop Davit Kubriashvili and Argentina flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.
Scrum-half Pierre Mignoni has since hung up his boots, but now coaches Toulon’s backline, and professed himself satisfied with the team’s winning start to their European Cup campaign - a convincing 37-16 victory over southern neighbours Montpellier.
“It was very important to start this competition well, especially at home,” Mignoni said, with the Blues going down 34-33 to Sale in Pool 6’s other match.
“We know that if we want to qualify, you have to win almost all the matches. It’s a good start, but we’ll head to Cardiff very motivated in a bid to bag a second victory.”
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