Bastareaud calls on Toulon to step it up

Date published: January 16 2017

Toulon will have to lift their game considerably when they travel to Allianz Park to face Saracens in the Champions Cup this weekend, says Mathieu Bastareaud.

Playing against 14 men, Toulon scored two tries in the final four minutes to beat Sale Sharks 27-12 this past weekend.

Bastareaud knows they will have to be better when facing the defending champions at home as the French outfit tries to reach the play-offs.

"We're going to go at Saracens with a lot of enthusiasm. But firstly we've got to put the Sale game behind us and then we can start thinking about what is going to be a very big game at Allianz Park," Bastareaud said.

"We would have loved not to have had the suspense at the finish. We got the victory in the end, but it was a very tough one against a very good team that had nothing to lose.

"We were concentrating too much on the bonus point too soon in the game, rather than simply focussing on the win. We played very poorly, especially in the first half.

"We made too many mistakes, which is a problem we've had for a few weeks now. We have to be more disciplined and we have to make better use of our possession if we want to stay in this competition – we kicked too often and we weren't good at the breakdown."

Sale went into the game with nothing to lose and pushed their hosts all the way, scoring a try in each half though Sam James and Rob Webber. They deserved more than they got but, in the end, it was a 16th successive defeat in the tournament and a 10th in a row in all competitions this season.

"The scoreline didn't reflect the game. The first 60-65 minutes it was a very good game, but their bench made the difference in the end," admitted Sale Director of Rugby, Steve Diamond.

"Matt Giteau came on and made a big difference for them, but there was a lot of pride in our performance. We had 21 English qualified players in our matchday squad and we are proud of what we are doing at the club.

"A lot of young lads got some exposure to Champions Cup rugby, but what we need now is stability in the Premiership. It takes time to be competitive at this level and we need to make sure that the next time we are in the Champions Cup we perform."