Preview: Toulon v Bath

Date published: November 13 2015

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Bryan Habana will make his first appearance of the season for Toulon when they host Bath in Sunday's Champions Cup clash.

Quade Cooper makes his European debut at fly-half while another new mega signing in Duane Vermeulen is on the bench for the defending champions.

Juan Smith captains the side and is joined in the Toulon back row by Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (flanker) and Steffon Armitage (number eight).

France internationals Maxime Mermoz and Mathieu Bastareaud make up the midfield pairing for Toulon, with USA international Samu Manoa starting in the second row.

Meanwhile, returning Springbok flanker Francois Louw will captain Bath.

Starting for the first time together in the front row are loosehead Nick Auterac, hooker Rob Webber and tighthead David Wilson. Dominic Day and Dave Attwood are in the second row, with Louw captaining the team in a back row also featuring blindside Matt Garvey and number eight Leroy Houston.

Chris Cook and George Ford are named in the half-backs, as Kyle Eastmond and Ollie Devoto make their fourth consecutive start together in the midfield.

A potent back three is comprised of wings Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni, along with full-back Anthony Watson.

Form: Toulon have won 24 of their past 27 matches without ever conceding more than 28 points in a single match during that run. Toulon have never faced Bath in the Champions Cup but they have recorded 11 wins in 12 matches against English opposition, scoring over twice as many points as their opponents overall. Bath have won their last four pool matches in the competition including three victories against French opposition. Bath have won their last two away pool games in the competition, both against French opposition, however they lost six in a row away from home before that.

The teams:

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Jonathan Pelissie, 8 Steffon Armitage, 7 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 6 Juan Smith (c), 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Anthony Etrillard, 1 Xavier Chiocci.
Replacements: 16 Bastien Soury, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Mohamed Boughanmi, 19 Duane Vermeulen, 20 Theo Belan, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 23 Konstantine Mikautadze

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw (c), 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Stuart Hooper, 20 Alafoti Faosiliva, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer

Date: Sunday, November 15
Venue: Stade Felix Mayol
Kick-off: 16:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Gwyn Morris (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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