‘Tahs true test, not Sharks – Laporte

Date published: February 7 2015

Toulon boss Bernard Laporte has downplayed the Sharks’ recent win over his side and said a clash with Super Rugby champions the Waratahs would be a true championship test.

There was plenty of hype around the match which was billed as the battle of the hemispheres.

The Sharks used the match against the French and European champions as preparation for their Super Rugby campaign and secured a 12-10 victory thanks to four penalties while Toulon’s points came via two tries.

And while the Sharks walked off with the trophy and bragging rights, Laporte was dismissive of their achievement.

“Let’s be serious,” Laporte told Rugbyrama after the match.

“We say that it is the champion of the Northern Hemisphere against the Southern one, but they have not won their competition.

“It’s a trophy that has no place.

“If the trophy is to mean anything, we must play against the Waratahs.”

But despite his misgivings about the importance of the clash with the Sharks, Laporte was happy with the way the event panned out.

“It’s always a privilege to receive a Southern Hemisphere team,” he added.

“It was a beautiful event without pressure.

“At the briefing, we were told the players not to kick penalties, we were there to provide maximum pleasure to the public.

“This is the only time that I said to the players: ‘Regardless of whether we win or lose, what matters most is pleasing the audience’ and I think we did that.”

Laporte also revealed that there was a possibility of a return fixture between his side and the Sharks.

“I spoke with John Smit, he would like to build a partnership between the two clubs,” explained Laporte.

“It could be a good thing, it would allow us to go there in July, although it will mean they will be without their internationals, but whatever.

“This is good preparation match.”