Preview: Bayonne v Toulouse

21st Sep 2012, 10:26

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All Black reunion: Luke McAlister v Joe Rokocoko

All Black reunion: Luke McAlister v Joe Rokocoko

Struggling Bayonne face a crunch home game on Friday against a Toulouse side smarting from a heavy loss last week.


The Top 14 weekend kicks off with a crunch game at Stade Jean Dauger in Bayonne where the struggling hosts are aiming to get their season back on track against a Toulouse side smarting from a heavy loss last week.

Despite putting in some solid defensive efforts, Bayonne have found it tough to discover their rhythm in early season.

After four defeats, including two at home (13-6 against Clermont and 25-18 against Racing-Metro), Bayonne sit in 11th spot having notched up a sole victory (24-11 over Stade Français in mid-August ) in their opening five matches.

Bayonne coach Christian Lanta in no doubt that his side had to turn themselves around, and quickly.

"The best thing is to get back playing very quickly, to avoid dwelling too long on issues," said Lanta.

"That's not to say you mustn't examine what happened, have a debrief and target what didn't work on Saturday against Racing."

Lanta admitted that the team had suffered too many defeats in recent seasons, but the fact they avoided relegation showed they were true competitors.

"Even if the squad is in difficulty, it is sound. They want to win, to have this match which can take them forward.

"Magic potions do not exist, it's a long process that is carrying on. We knew that this start to the season would be complicated, that we needed to win some matches.

Meanwhile, Toulouse are looking to bounce back from getting hiding from Perpignan last week. Manager Guy Novès insists there is no need to panic and has called on his side to wake up.

Good news for the visitors is that hooker Christopher Tolofua is fit to play, meaning there is no need to forwards coach William Servat to lace up his boots.

Bayonne: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Manu Ahotaeiloa, 12 Lionel Mazars, 11 Cedric Heymans , 10 Benjamin Boyet, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Julien Puricelli, 7 Dwayne Haare, 6 Mark Chisholm , 5 Abdellatif Boutaty, 4 Dewald Senekal, 3 Nemiah Tialata, 2 David Roumieu, 1 Aretz Iguiniz
Replacements: 16 Gregory Arganese, 17 Vitolio Manukula, 18 Marc Baget, 19 Guillaume Bernad, 20 Cedric Garcia, 21 Marvin O'Connor, 22 Sam Gerber, 23 Renaud Boyoud.

Toulouse: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Timoci Matanavou, 10 Luke Mcalister, 9 Jean Marc Doussain, 8 Gillian Galan, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Romain Millo chlusky, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Jean batiste Poux.
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp , 18 Gregory Lamboley, 19 Jean Bouilhou , 20 Luke Burgess , 21 Lionel Beauxis, 22 Jean bernard Pujol, 23 Yohan Montes.

Results last season: Bayonne won 18-13 at home; Toulouse won 30-15 at home
Prediction: Bayonne's form at home does not inspire confidence. Toulouse by a whisker
Kick-off: 20.50 (18.50 GMT)
Referee: Christophe Berdos