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Connacht's French exam

Connacht v Toulouse, The Sportsground, Tomorrow (KO 6.0) - It doesn't get any bigger or better than this.

Sure, the All Blacks have been out to Galway. But, this is different. This is Connacht's first taste of Heineken Cup rugby at The Sportsground.


Therefore, the welcome given to the greatest club in Europe will be hostile in the heat of battle and generous in the aftermath. Toulouse will want to be more ready for Connacht than they were for Gloucester in the south of France last Sunday.

You couldn't blame the organisers of the draw for arranging this mouth-watering tie and The Westerners showed at Harlequins that they will not be roadkill for the juggernaut French champions.

This is the platform for Connacht to launch their brand. There will be 9,000 supporters at a revamped stadium and home-grown youngsters, like centre Eoin Griffin and wing Tiernan O'Halloran, to feed off the frenzied atmosphere.

For Toulouse, it is all about their mindset. They were not switched on for Gloucester. Maybe, that is all their legendary coach Guy Noves needed to shed light back on their game.

Verdict: Toulouse