Our overview of the EPCR Challenge Cup Pool A sides continues with a look at Top 14 club RC Toulon.
EPCR Challenge Cup record
The Top 14 side have never won the EPCR Challenge Cup, falling at the final hurdle four times, in 2010, 2012, 2020 and 2022.
Despite that, the club are three-time winners of EPCR’s elite competition, winning three of a row in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Last year Toulon made it all the way to the final of the EPCR Challenge Cup 2021-22, but they lost to fellow French side Lyon 30-12 at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.
On the way to the final, Toulon defeated Benetton Rugby, London Irish and Saracens in the knock out stages.
Director of Rugby
Toulon’s Director of Rugby is former French international scrum-half Pierre Mignoni, who arrived in the summer of 2022 and works closely with General Manager Franck Azema.
This is Mignoni’s fifth time at the Stade Mayol club, having previously had three stints as a player at the club as well as working there as a back coach after his retirement.
He left his role with Toulon in 2015 to move to Lyon, where he led the club all the way from the second division of French Rugby to become EPCR Challenge Cup champions last year before returning to Toulon.
THE MOMENT YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR…
Fixture details for the 2022/23 #ChallengeCupRugby season 🚨
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) October 7, 2022
French international Dany Priso is a new signing for Toulon, having arrived from Heineken Champions Cup winners Stade Rochelais in the summer. New Zealander and fly-half Ihaia West made the same move; in 24 appearances in EPCR competitions he’s scored 97 points.
The club captain is flanker Charles Ollivon while another key player is centre Matthieu Bastareaud who is finally back after a long injury kept him on the sidelines, the 34-year-old now ready for his second stint with Toulon.
In a 10-year international career, the Frenchman made 54 international appearances although that’s not quite as many as Italian legend Sergio Parisse who made 142 appearances for the Italians and, at 39-years-old, is in his fourth season with Toulon.
Fijian centre Waisea Nayacalevu is one of the star backs for Toulon, along with wings Jiuta Wainiqolo, Gabien Villière and Cheslin Kolbe, the latter with eight tries to his name in 23 appearances in EPCR competitions.
Toulon start and end their EPCR Challenge Cup Pool A games against Italians Zebre Parma, first away from home and then at the Stade Mayol on December 10 and January 20 respectively.
In between those matches, on December 17 and January 14, Toulon will face Bath Rugby, first at home before travelling to England.