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Questionable Toulon move to have major say on Glasgow and Munster fate

By Josh Raisey
Toulon's Argentinian number eight Facundo Isa (CL) and Toulon's French full-back Melvyn Jaminet (CR) react at the end of the European Champions Cup rugby union match between Rugby Club Toulonnais (Toulon) and Munster at the Stade Mayol in Toulon, south-eastern France on January 13, 2023. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Ahead of a trip to Scotstoun Stadium tomorrow to face Glasgow Warriors in the Investec Champions Cup, Toulon may have come the closest to producing rugby’s equivalent of throwing in the towel, and they have done so before the match has even started.


Heading into the final match of the pool stages in this year’s Champions Cup, the three-time winners sit at the bottom of Pool 3 with zero wins and three losses. With that in mind, director of rugby Pierre Mignoni has fielded a squad that suggests his attention has already switched back to the Top 14 and the visit by La Rochelle the following week.

What is stranger than the team they have fielded though is the fact that they have given in while still standing a perfectly good chance of progressing to the last 16.

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Alex Sanderson on Sale Sharks’ challenging week in SA

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Alex Sanderson on Sale Sharks’ challenging week in SA

While they do sit bottom of the table, a win over Glasgow while depriving the hosts of any bonus points, would see them climb into fourth place in the pool, which is a qualification spot. Then they would be reliant on the unbeaten Exeter Chiefs, who need a win, to beat the winless Bayonne at the Stade Jean-Dauger and they would progress. It is perfectly doable, but the Toulon coaching staff do not seem to think so.

After falling 29-18 to Munster at home last week, changes were expected for this Toulon team – 14, however, is excessive. Completely dropping three players who were recently called up to France’s Guinness Six Nations squad (Charles Ollivon, Melvyn Jaminet and Esteban Abadie) is rarely conducive to a winning formula, and dropping the final member of the France squad, Matthias Halagahu, to the bench is not going to help either.

The bizarrity does not end there though, as Jeremy Sinzelle is set to start his first game at fly-half since 2019, with Wales great Dan Biggar completely dropped.


The winners here are, of course, Glasgow, who know a win will ensure they progress to the knockout stages.

Munster, on the other hand, will be less pleased to see this squad. Though the reigning United Rugby Championship winners are in a strong position to progress, a Glasgow win on Friday will mean that they will have to beat the high-flying Northampton Saints on Saturday at Thomond Park to help their seeding for the next round.

Knowing there is a glimmer of hope that they could actually finish second in Pool 3 (and therefore gain a home tie in the round of 16), Munster were always going to head into the Saints match seeking a big win, so Toulon’s team may not have a major impact on their thinking. Glasgow, though, will be over the moon seeing their team.



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