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Preview: Toulouse v Leicester

12th October 2012 10:00

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Clash of former champions: Tigers visit Toulouse

Toulouse host fellow former champions Leicester Tigers in the biggest clash of the opening weekend of the Heineken Cup on Sunday.

There's no harder place to begin the Heineken Cup trail than in Toulouse this weekend, says Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill, who spent two years as a player in France.

"They're historically the best club in France, they're the most successful team in Europe, and there's not a harder place to go so, we've got to be right," said Cockerill, who has been with Tigers in each of the club's five visits to a European final.

"It's the unique nature of the Heineken Cup to go to places like Toulouse and have two good sides playing each other in the first round.

"The pool stages are not a procession -you have to perform really well from day one.

"This could be the kind of fixture to grace a quarter-final or semi-final."

Toulouse academy graduate Gael Fickou will make his European debut at inside centre for the four-time champions. Clement Poitrenaud returns to the full-back berth meaning Yoann Huget shifts to left wing.

Pumas lock Patricio Albacete returns from international duty in the Rugby Championship and comes in on the bench. Veteran French international centre Yannick Jauzion is on the bench but will undergo a fitness test on matchday.

For Leicester, Steve Mafi and Scott Hamilton are both included in the starting XV on their return from injury.

Flanker Mafi and full-back Hamilton both missed the Aviva Premiership wins over Exeter Chiefs and Sale Sharks, but have returned to fitness in time for the European opener in France this weekend.

Loosehead prop Marcos Ayerza is also included in the Tigers squad for the first time this season on his return from international duty with Argentina.

Vereniki Goneva makes his Heineken Cup debut on the wing as two-time European champions Tigers visit four-time winners Toulouse in Pool 2.

Toulouse coach Guy Novès describes Sunday's match as the one "everyone is waiting for."

"Leicester is a team that has been European champions, champions of England and has experience at least equal to our own, so this will be a match of the highest level," he said.

"It is a match everyone has been waiting for since the start of the season. Anything can happen in this competition as we saw last year when we beat Harlequins away and they came to win in Toulouse."

Heineken Cup betting odds

The teams:

Toulouse: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Jean Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Romain Millo Chlusky, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Jean Batiste Poux, 18 Antoine Guillamon, 19 Patricio Albacete, 20 Jean Bouilhou, 21 Yannick Jauzion, 22 Luke Burgess, 23 Timoci Matanavou.

Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Thomas Waldrom, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements:16 George Chuter, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Richard Thorpe, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

Date: Sunday, October 14
Kick-off: 16:00 local (15:00 BST)
Venue: Stadium de Toulouse
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Jon Mason (Wales)
Television match official: Derek Bevan (Wales)
Timekeeper: Bernard Perez
Assessor: Patrick Thomas (France)
Citing commissioner: Denis Templeton (Ireland)

  • Leicester Tigers Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Saturday , December 20
Northampton vs Leicester15:00
Saturday , December 27
Sale vs Leicester14:00
Saturday , January 3
Leicester vs Bath15:00
Saturday , January 10
Harlequins vs Leicester15:00
Saturday , February 14
Leicester vs Gloucester15:00
Saturday , February 21
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , December 7
Leicester vs Toulon17:30
Saturday , December 13
Toulon vs Leicester15:15
Saturday , January 17
Leicester vs ScarletsTBC
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
  • Leicester Tigers Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
LV= Cup
Sunday , November 9
Leicester 29 - 13 Sale SharksLeicester vs Sale Sharks Report
Saturday , November 1
London Irish 16 - 17 Leicester
More LV= Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Scarlets 15 - 3 Leicester
Saturday , October 18
Leicester 25 - 18 Ulster
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 10
Leicester 22 - 16 Harlequins
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821
6Wasps820
7Sale Sharks820