Preview: Toulon v Sharks

Date published: February 4 2015

The Sharks take on French champions Toulon on Thursday evening in the Rugby Masters pre-season Friendly at Stade Mayol in their final pre-season warm-up game ahead of Super Rugby.

Director of Rugby Gary Gold believes this match against the reigning European champions provides the idea final preparation for his team ahead of next weekend’s Super Rugby opener against the Cheetahs at Kings Park.

“This match [against Toulon] is going to be the first really competitive game of the season and we’re up against a team that has qualified for the European Cup quarter-finals already,” said Gold.

“Yes, they will be more prepared than us and more game ready than us, that’s the challenge we face. But the reason why we wanted to be here is to put ourselves under this kind of pressure.

“It’s going to be a massive challenge, one we’re very excited about. I’m really happy they we are going to be playing such a quality team.”

With no Top 14 action this weekend, Toulon have also named a strong side, with Steffon Armitage returning to the squad for the first time since he was taken into custody over an incident last December.

The teams:

Toulon: 15 Juan-Mart