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Savea primed for Toulon return

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Julian Savea primed for Toulon return

Former All Black Julian Savea is set to make his return from French club Toulon after missing more than a month of action.

Savea was granted leave to attend All Black brother Ardie’s wedding in Fiji, which took place earlier this month.

Savea last played for Toulon in the side’s Heineken Cup victory over Montpellier on December 8, and French paper L’Equipe has reported that the 28-year-old is expected to play their next game – a Heineken Cup fixture against Edinburgh – this weekend.

The 54-test veteran could be in line for a start in his comeback appearance, with Toulon struck with a slew of injuries in the backline.

Savea’s mid-season leave caused backlash from Toulon fans, to which his wife responded.

“Let me set the record straight,” Fatima Saveam – Julian’s wife – tweeted. “Before Julian signed his contract he asked for time off in December to attend his ONLY brother’s wedding. So this was agreed upon by both the club and Julian or else Julian would not have come to Toulon in September and instead in January.”

Mr & Mrs Savea • 20.12.18 ??

A post shared by Ardie Savea (@ardiesavea) on

The club need a big performance out of Savea should he play, as they come up against a tough Edinburgh side. The Scottish club are currently at the top of their Champions Cup pool, while beleaguered Toulon have notched just a solitary win from their four fixtures and sit at the bottom of the pool.

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill –  a former assistant at Toulon – has insisted the French club’s home ground is “one of the toughest places in the world” to get an away win, and said a win at the weekend would be one of his club’s finest for the season.

The two sides met last October, with Edinburgh emerging victorious in a one-sided 40-14 affair.

“They were in a state of flux, had a lot of injuries and didn’t bring anywhere near their best team,” Cockerill told BBC Sport. “But they have got some world-class players and will be much better.”

“I know Toulon well enough to know they will never want to lose at home; that will be a big driver for them.”

“The quality of their individuals is far beyond what we have got, but the quality of our team spirit and organisation and the sum of our parts, as ever, is going to have to be the key decider.

“We don’t rely on individuals, we rely on the team, whereas probably they rely on their individual brilliance much of the time.”

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Julian Savea primed for Toulon return