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Toulouse's semi-final ref workshop

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Toulouse host special workshop to help them prepare for Wayne Barnes

Underdogs Toulouse are leaving nothing to chance in their efforts to dethrone reigning European Cup champions Leinster. 

Wayne Barnes has been appointed referee for the semi-final in Dublin and while that is a good omen in the sense that the English official was the man in charge when Toulouse defeated Leinster 28-27 in a pool match last October in France, they have still taken steps to ensure their discipline is fully up to scratch for the weekend. 

Toulouse conceded 11 penalties to Leinster’s seven with Barnes on the whistle, and discipline was again an issue in the return leg in January in Dublin. The French side were beaten 29-13 at the RDS, with the penalty count calculated at 12-8 with Luke Pearce in charge. 

To help counter-act this trend, which was followed up by Pearce’s red card for Zack Holmes in the quarter-final at Racing, coach Ugo Mola this week invited former Test level referee Christophe Berdos in to host a workshop for the Toulouse squad at Stade Ernest-Wallon in the hope that his instructions can ensure discipline isn’t a negative on Easter Sunday. 

“There is a lot of work done by the staff on the intensity: decision-making at high speed in training,” explained Mola ahead of Toulouse’s first semi-final appearance since 2011, a fixture they lost to Leinster in Dublin.

“In Leinster, we will play what is the best in Europe in terms of intensity. It was clear during their last match. Despite Leinster’s turnovers, Glasgow had to work on 360 tackles. It’s double or even triple what we can play in our weekly championship. Our young players and even the most seasoned need to experience this high intensity.

“When we say that we have zero pressure, that we are outsiders, I do not care… this is the high level, the European level. That means it’s faster, stronger, longer. We want to play these games, to play against a team that plays a lot.”

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Toulouse host special workshop to help them prepare for Wayne Barnes