Planet Rugby

Preview: Toulon v Glasgow Warriors

11th October 2013 12:03

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Jonny Wilkinson

Toulon captain: Jonny Wilkinson

Toulon have recalled Jonny Wilkinson into their starting XV to face Pro12 leaders Glasgow in Sunday's Heineken Cup clash at Stade Félix Mayol.

Toulon are unbeaten at home in the Heineken Cup, winning all seven of their matches and this will be the first time the clubs have met in the competition.

The defending champions have made nine changes to the run-on side that narrowly beat Clermont in the Top 14 last week, in what was a rematch of last May's Heineken Cup Final.

Scrum-half Michael Claassens replaces Sebastian Tillous-Borde while Matt Giteau shifts from 10 to inside centre.

Former Wallaby wing Drew Mitchell drops to the bench along with Mathieu Bastareaud to make way for Josua Tuisova and Maxime Mermoz, who moves from 12 to 13.

In the pack, stalwarts flankers Joe van Niekerk and Juan Fernandez Lobbe return on either side of the scrum as Steffon Armitage drops to the bench.

Martin Castrogiovanni starts ahead of Carl Hayman at tighthead prop.

Frederic Michalak makes his return from injury amongst the replacements.

Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend has called Tommy Seymour, Ruaridh Jackson, Henry Pyrgos, Dougie Hall, Jon Welsh, Jonny Gray and Josh Strauss come into the side following the 17-12 victory over the Scarlets last weekend.

Duncan Weir, Pat MacArthur, Moray Low and Richie Vernon drop to the bench, while Chris Cusiter, Rob Harley and the injured Sean Lamont are not involved this weekend.

Sean Maitland continues at full-back, with Seymour coming in on the right wing and Niko Matawalu moving to the left flank.

Mark Bennett and Alex Dunbar continue their centre partnership, while Jackson and Pyrgos link up at halfback.

In the pack Ryan Grant keeps his place at loosehead, with Hall replacing MacArthur at hooker and Welsh coming in for Low at tighthead.

19-year-old Gray makes only his third start for the club in the second-row alongside captain Al Kellock.

Tim Swinson moves from second-row to the blindside flank, with Chris Fusaro continuing at openside. Josh Strauss has recovered from injury and starts at number eight.

"We've been pleased with our league form so far this season and we would like to continue that in Europe, but this is the ultimate test for us," said Townsend.

"Playing the defending champions away from home is something we've been looking forward to since the beginning of the season.

"Stade Mayol is a wonderful arena to play in and playing such a quality side in the first game is a fantastic challenge for our squad. As a player you want to play in these kind of games and test yourself against some of the best players in the world.

"It's a privilege to be involved in such a game and I wish I could have selected all of our players. The 23-man squad are aware of the opportunity that awaits them in France."

The teams:

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Maxime Mermoz, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 David Smith, 10 Jonny Wilkinson (c), 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Joe van Niekerk, 6 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Jean-Charles Orioli, 1 Emmanuel Felsina.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Noirot, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Carl Hayman, 19 Steffon Armitage, 20 Mathieu Bastareaud, 21 Drew Mitchell, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Danie Rossouw.

Glasgow: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Tim Swinson, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Moray Low, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 James Eddie, 20 Richie Vernon, 21 Duncan Weir, 22 Byron McGuigan, 23 DTH van der Merwe.

Date: Sunday, October 13
Kick-off: 16:00 local (15:00 BST)
Venue: Stade Félix Mayol
Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant referees: Andrew Small (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)

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