Perpignan and Toulouse renew hostilities
August 27, 2009
Toulouse wing Vincent Clerc found his scoring touch against Brive last weekend © Getty Images
Reigning champions Perpignan will be tested to the full this weekend when they face perennial title challengers Toulouse at the Stade Aime Giral on Saturday.
Perpignan slipped to a disappointing defeat against Montpellier last weekend, their performance blighted by a lack of bite up front and some uncharacteristic lapses in the backs.
In stark contrast, Toulose steamrolled past Brive 38-0, with the French back three of Cedric Heymans, Vincent Clerc and Maxime Medard all inking their names on the score-sheet.
The home side will be boosted by the return of fiery Romanian hooker Marius Tincu and flanker Jean-Pierre Perez to training, although the news is not so promising elsewhere. Kisi Pulu and Olivier Olibeau are both doubts for the game after picking up injuries against Montpellier and Bayonne respectively.
They will not have to deal with the running threat of Medard after the fullback dislocated his shoulder, with Clement Poitrenaud set to deputise in the No.15 jersey, but must be wary of the in-form Jean-Baptiste Elissalde.
The versatile Elissalde answered the call to man the fly-half berth at the start of the season and has been in fine fettle. He will have one eye on the returning Frederic Michalak, and also on cementing a return to the international fold.
Perpignan pivot David Mele would do well to take a leaf out of Elissalde's book after his profligacy with the boot let Montpellier pull clear, but the men in red will take heart from last season's comfortable 32-8 win in the corresponding fixture last season.
Perpignan: A Batlle; F Sid, D Marty, M Mermoz, J Candelon; N Laharrague, N Durand; PT Freshwater, G Guirado, B Bourrust, RE Alvarez Kairelis, G Palau, G le Corvec, JP Perez, D Chouly
Replacements: VM Tincu, K Pulu, R Tchale-Watchou, O Tonita, D Mele, G Hume, J Michel
Toulouse: C Poitrenaud; V Clerc, F Fritz, Y David, C Heymans; JB Elissalde, BT Kelleher; JB Poux, W Servat, CAI Johnston, PE Albacete, R Millo-Chlusky, Y Nyanga, T Dusautoir, L Picamoles
Replacements: V Lacombe, B Lecouls, Y Maestri, SF Maka, M Ahotaeiloa, R Lamerat, Y Donguy
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