Toulouse suffer injury setback
December 6, 2011
Luke Burgess has impressed since taking his bow for Toulouse © Getty Images
Toulouse will have to face unbeaten Harlequins on Friday without a host of star names.
French international fullback Clement Poitrenaud injured his ankle in Toulouse's win over Toulon at the weekend and is expected to be out for a month. And new signing Gurthro Steenkamp, despite playing just once for the Top 14 champions since his summer move, has suffered a fractured hip. The duo join Argentinean lock Patricio Albacete on the sidelines with the 30-year-old suffering from a serious ankle sprain. Winger Rupeni Caucaunibuca is also out long-term with a knee injury.
But one fit player - former Wallabies scrum-half Luke Burgess - is relishing the chance to try his hand against England half-back Danny Care. Burgess - who moved to the Top 14 champions following the 2011 World Cup - is adamant his side can bring an end to Harlequins' impressive run. But the 37-cap Wallabies half-back is fully aware of the threats the London side pose.
"I know that Harlequins are a great team," said 28-year-old Burgess. "They are very physical and skilful - especially Danny Care, an extremely talented inside back. However, they also have players like Nick Evans and Nick Easter so all in all they are a very challenging squad to play against. I am sure it will be a great and very tough game and, as they are also in top spot in their domestic championship, it promises to be a huge clash.
"To stop them we will need to rise to the challenge and be physical. We need to get our basics right, be accurate and then the rest is about playing rugby and enjoying it. We play them back-to-back, which is interesting and a bit unusual, but I think a good thing. It allows you to correct your mistakes straight away for the second leg and keep your focus."
Burgess took his Heineken Cup bow against Gloucester in the first round of this season's Heineken Cup and he is relishing the physical challenge the competition presents. "From a personal point of view, those first two experiences were great," Burgess said. "My first game in Toulouse was wonderful and I enjoyed travelling to Connacht and now there is more to come in travelling to the Stoop on Friday. It should be good and after two games I have a clearer idea of the Heineken Cup.
"It is a great competition, renowned worldwide and it is an honour to be playing in it. It is extremely challenging and you get to experience different styles of rugby across the nations so it makes it a very interesting tournament. It is both very physical and very tactically challenging. It is also a little bit different from the Super Rugby as the styles of rugby in the southern hemisphere are different - the collisions aren't necessarily as big, the forward game isn't the same and it is more physical up here.
"But I couldn't have picked a better club to make my debut in Europe, Toulouse being such a reputable and wonderful club, a wonderful city with wonderful people. It's awesome to be part of it."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports
Wales did the All Blacks a favour with their best effort against New Zealand for many years, for 68 minutes at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Craig Dowd writes
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa