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Sale Sharks travel to the Stade Félix Mayol in the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday to take on three-time champions RC Toulon – a side that has come out on top in all four of their previous encounters in the competition.
Sale will need to end a run of 13 away defeats in the Heineken Champions Cup if they are to taste victory over the French team.
The two sides will go head-to-head at 15:15 (UK and Irish time), with the game televised live on BT Sport, FR 2, beIN SPORTS and Sky Italia.
3️⃣x Champions @RCTofficiel host @SaleSharksRugby 🌼🦈@maavelous is back in #HeinekenChampionsCup action 😍
What impact will the legend have on Saturday? pic.twitter.com/QB4ugQZTPl
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 11, 2020
- Toulon have won each of their four encounters with Sale Sharks in the Heineken Champions Cup, keeping the Sharks under seven points scored in three of those games.
- Toulon have lost two of their last three home games in the Heineken Champions Cup (W1) after winning 23 of their previous 24 (L1); two of their three home defeats have come against teams from England (Saracens in October 2016 and Newcastle in October 2018).
- Sale Sharks have lost their last 13 away games in the Heineken Champions Cup, by an average margin of 25 points; they have also lost 11 of their 13 visits to TOP 14 teams in the competition (W2), last winning there against Clermont Auvergne in October 2008.
- RC Toulon recorded the best tackle success rate of any club in the Challenge Cup last season, completing 89% of their attempted tackles.
- Toulon’s Gabin Villiere won 10 turnovers in the Challenge Cup in 2019/20, the joint most of any player (also Jack Willis) and twice as many as the next best back – teammate Baptiste Serin (5).
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RC Toulon got their Heineken Champions Cup campaign off to the perfect start as they cruised to a 26-14 win over Sale Sharks at Stade Felix Mayol.
Louis Carbonel – who won Heineken Star of the Match – racked up 16 points from the kicking tee in a composed display from fly-half.
Carbonel opened the scoring after just over 20 minutes, slotting over a simple three-pointer as Sale were penalised inside their own 22.
He then added another three before setting up Toulon’s first try, playing a delightful chip and reading the bounce before getting the pass away to Gabin Villiere who was able to step inside and cross the whitewash.
That put Toulon 13 points ahead and it soon became 19 when Carbonel added successful penalty kicks either side of half-time.
"48 years of age and he's still got it!"
Sergio Parisse with an absolutely magical offload 🤘
We're lucky the NBA didn't steal him away from us with handles like that 🔥#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/oZl0ztzPMl
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 12, 2020
And the match was put beyond doubt when Sergio Parisse looked set to go across himself but was tackled before playing a miracle offload back across to Ramiro Moyano who collected and swivelled before dotting down.
Sale did show some fight and got back into the match with two consolation tries from first Marland Yarde and then James Phillips crashing over at the posts but it was too late as Toulon secured four points, with the English side failing to secure a bonus point.
Toulon will travel to face Scarlets next week, whilst Sale Sharks will host Edinburgh Rugby.
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