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Ulster really up against it at Toulon

Toulon v Ulster, Stade Mayol, Today (KO 3.15 - Irish time) Live Sky Sports 2

Ulster have won on their last two visits to France.

Before then, they held an abysmal winless record from 14 attempts. It would came as a ground-trembling shock to see anything other than a comfortable Toulon victory.

The Ulster pack is stacked with unproven players at this level with the front row of Andy Warwick, Rob Herring and Bronson Ross sure to come under the pump.

The back row doesn't exactly scream ball security either with Clive Ross, journeyman Mike McComish and captain Roger Wilson going up against the world-class unit of Juan Smith, Steffon Armitage and Chris Masoe.

A lot of responsibility will fall onto half-backs Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson, the latter recovering the form that made him an Ireland international.


Inside centre Stuart Olding is looking the real deal again in the unfortunate absence of Luke Marshall.

The outcome will all hang on Toulon's mindset.

There are times when they can be content to take the points and not administer the star treatment.

This time, they hold a five-point lead over Leicester Tiger and The Scarlets and they can take control of the Pool with four tries from any number of ace finishers, like the twin threat of Bryan Habana and Drew Mitchell on the flanks of their attack.

If the mood takes them, this could be ugly for Ulster as Ireland hopeful Jared Payne starts at full-back with Darren Cave at thirteen.

Toulon: L Halfpenny; D Mitchell, M Bastareaud, M Mermoz, B Habana; N Sanchez, S Tillous-Borde; X Chiocci, G Guirado, M Castrogiovanni, J Suta, A Williams, J Smith, S Armitage, C Masoe (capt).

Ulster: J Payne; L Ludik, D Cave, S Olding, M Allen; P Jackson, R Pienaar; A Warwick, R Herring, B Ross, A O'Connor, F van der Merwe, C Ross, M McComish, R Wilson (capt).

Verdict: Toulon