Halfpenny back for Toulon against fired-up Clermont
Leigh Halfpenny returns to the Toulon side for tomorrow's Champions Cup quarter-final against Clermont-Auvergne as the Wales star moves closer to extending his deal with the French giants.
Halfpenny will start at full-back, with Drew Mitchell shifting out to the wing. There is also a new centre partnership as Ma'a Nonu starts alongside Mathieu Bastareaud. Toulon will be well aware that they face a Clermont side bent on revenge after twice losing to their Top 14 rivals in the final over the last four seasons.
"This competition is special, and it's very much there in the history and DNA of the club," said Clermont skipper Damien Chouly. "All of us have experienced some great European campaigns but, unfortunately, it has twice ended up with defeat in the final. But we're back in the competition and we want to bring the trophy back to the club and our supporters."
Clermont's pool form and their record at home certainly suggests they have more than a fighting chance.
Chouly starts at No 8 tomorrow while Aurélien Rougerie partners Rémi Lamerat at centre. Nick Abendanon shifts from the right wing to the left to allow for the return of Noa Nakaitaci.
- Clermont v Toulon, Live, BT Sport 2, tomorrow, 3.15