Sergio Parisse excited to face Leinster in Champions Cup

Chris Evans

Toulon back-row Sergio Parisse admits he is looking forward to the challenge of facing Leinster on Friday night in the Champions Cup round-of-16, a side who he calls “one of the best in Europe”.

The French team defeated Sale Sharks in their opening match of the competition 26-14 to book their place in the last 16, where they were handed arguably the toughest draw possible against a Leinster team, who have just wrapped up their fourth straight PRO14 title.

Parisse is one of the few in this Toulon squad to taste success in Europe, winning the Challenge Cup with Stade Francais Paris in 2017. The former Italy star acknowledges the difficulty of the task ahead, but says it is a challenge that his team are relishing.

The 37-year-old told RugbyRama: “When you are a player, what better than to face if not the best than at least one of the best teams in Europe?

“It’s the kind of game every player dreams of playing, so there is nothing better to get your head straight. The stake is immense and the match will be huge.

A flawless team

“They are solid in front, behind, in the scrum, have experience but also some excellent young talents – it is a flawless team.

“They will be full of confidence [after beating Munster Rugby], so we are not going to focus on their weaknesses but on our rugby.

“We know that the Irish provinces are particularly keen on the Heineken Champions Cup, and we will need to be on our very best to land a blow in Dublin.”