Heineken Cup: Saracens vs Toulon on Sunday, April 28th

27/04/2013 no comments »
Heineken Cup: Saracens vs Toulon on Sunday, April 28th

The Heineken Cup semi-finals are upon us, and Sundays tie between English side Saracens and French big spenders Toulon is a fascinating match up, as both have genuine world class players and are both aiming to reach the final of this competition for the first time.

Saracens look to have one advantage, as the game is being staged at Twickenham, so could be seen as a home game for the London based Club. In addition, they also brushed aside last season’s finalists Ulster impressively in the last round, so will be full of confidence. Saracens build their game around their solid defence, which has only conceded thirty tries in twenty eight matches domestically and in Europe this season, if you combine that with the talent of England winger Chris Ashton, fly half Owen Farrell and World Cup winning South African John Smit, shows they are a quality outfit. They also have brilliant forwards Matt Stevens, Mako Vunipola and Schalk Brits, along with Ernst Joubert and Kelly Brown, thus ensuring they have good strength in depth throughout their whole squad.

Toulon meanwhile have been big spenders over the last few years, with ambitious owner Mourad Boudjellal ensuring they now have a squad the envy of European rugby, with French back Mathieu Bastareaud, Australian Matt Giteau, South African enforcer Bakkies Botha and England Legend Jonny Wilkinson available for selection. They can also call upon other English payers Simon Shaw, Delon Armitage and Andrew Sheridan, who have all played at Twickenham previously throughout their careers, so Saracens apparent stadium advantage may not be as certain as it seems.

Both teams come into this game on the back of recent league defeats, with Saracens beaten at Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership, whilst their opponents Toulon fell to a one point loss to Grenoble last Saturday, and in the process fell to second in the French Top Fourteen table. There is very little to separate these two sides and it could come down to goal kicking, if that’s the case then it will be the master Jonny Wilkinson against the apprentice Owen Farrell, to ensure each side kicks accurately to be victorious.

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