Tuesday 23 October 2018

Galthie banks on Guirado to be fit for Munster clash

France captain Guilhem Guirado. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile
France captain Guilhem Guirado. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

John Fallon

Toulon coach Fabien Galthie is hopeful that French captain Guilhem Guirado will be fit for Saturday's Champions Cup showdown against Munster at Thomond Park.

The 31-year old hooker suffered a knee injury leading France to a 22-16 win over England earlier this month, which ruled him out of their game against Wales.

Guirado sat out Toulon's 49-0 demolition of reigning Top 14 champions Clermont Auvergne on Sunday, but is one of several players set to be available for the trip to Limerick.

Two experienced Springboks, full-back JP Pietersen and lock Juandre Kruger, are also poised to return, while All Black Ma'a Nonu, rested for the seven-try rout of Clermont, also adds to the wealth of riches available to Galthie.

But one of their most experienced stars, former Argentina captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, has warned that Toulon will need to produce a special performance.

The 36-year-old has played there with Sale Sharks and Toulon and says that while they have a strong squad and are on a high after the trouncing of the champions, the retired Puma issued a note of caution.

Tough

"It's going to be very, very tough. Every experience I had in Munster and Thomond Park it has always been very tough and it won't be any different this time," he said.

"We only have a short week to prepare. The win over Clermont was a good way to prepare but we need to really focus during the week because there is not much time and we know we will need to be at our best to beat them."

Fernandez Lobbe may miss the trip to Thomond Park after picking up a thumb injury in Sunday's remarkable win.

"It's not looking good for me, I will know after the scan where I stand but even if I'm not going to Thomond Park I will tell our players what to expect," he said.

"Many of them have played Munster before but it will be first time for others and we need to prepare.

"It's a huge game, there is so much at stake," added Fernandez Lobbe who was a key figure in Toulon's three-in-a-row Champions Cup successes.

Irish Independent

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