Planet Rugby

Preview: Toulouse v Ospreys

07th December 2012 10:01

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Yoann Huget in action for Toulouse

At full-back for Toulouse: Yoann Huget

Ospreys face the daunting task of travelling to four-time Heineken Cup winners Toulouse on Saturday.

The reigning PRO12 champions will want to bounce back from their disappointing defeat to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road but have lost both their previous game to Toulouse.

In fact, the Welsh side have won only one of their 11 games in France in the Heineken Cup, against Bourgoin back in 2008.

Toulouse have lost just one of 15 home games against Welsh opposition in this competition, losing to Llanelli Scarlets back in 2006.

The Ospreys' assignment task looks even more difficult with a host of Welsh internationals, like skipper Alun Wyn Jones, props Adam Jones and Aaron Jarvis, all ruled out with injury.

Former Biarritz prop Campbell Johnstone makes his Ospreys debut while Ross Jones, Scott Baldwin and James King make their Heineken Cup debuts. Matthew Dwyer, Dmitri Arhip and Lloyd Peers will make their European debuts if they come off the bench

"To go an take on someone like Toulouse at their ground is one of the toughest asks in European rugby, particularly when we have such a long injury list," said Ospreys forwards coach, Jonathan Humphreys.

"We are up against one of the strongest squads in the competition with a budget that you can't compare to ours, and we know that we are going to have to be at our very best if we hope to get anything out of the game whatsoever.

"What I would say though is that we have a great spirit in this group, a real togetherness, and we will go out there believing in our own ability rather than focusing on what Toulouse are about.

"We are going to have to give probably our best ever display as an Ospreys team if we are going to bring anything back from Toulouse but one thing you can guarantee is that we will give it absolutely everything. The Ospreys spirit is about fighting for the cause, giving everything and never knowing when we are beaten, and that is what you can expect at the weekend."

Meanwhile, Toulouse welcome back Pumas lock Patricio Albacete from injury. Gary Botha is also back at hooker while Christopher-Eric Tolofua returns from suspension meaning that there is no need for forwards coach William Servat to lace up his boots.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Toulouse: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Maxime Medard, 13 Yann David, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Vincent Clerc, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Yannick Nyanga, 6 Jean Bouilhou, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Romain Millo-Chluski, 3 Cencus Johnston, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 17 Yohan Montes, 18 Christopher-Eric Tolofua, 19 Yoann Maestri, 20 Gregory Lamboley, 21 Edwin Maka, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Gael Fickou.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Ross Jones, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i (c), 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 James King, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Campbell Johnstone, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Dwyer, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Dimitri Arhip, 19 Lloyd Peers, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Isaacs.

Date: Saturday, December 8
Venue: Stade Ernest Wallon
Kick-off: 14:35 local (13.35 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

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