ERCC: Toulon v Bath Preview

Bath will be looking to fly the English flag high when they travel to France to take on Toulon at the Stade Felix-Mayol on Saturday the 9th of December.

The top two sides in Pool 5 collide at the Stade Felix-Mayol on Saturday, in a game that will have a huge bearing on which club inevitably finishes the pool stage in pole-position. The hosts come off the back off an impressive 39-11 home win over the impressive Lyon, which snapped a three-game losing streak in the Top 14, while Todd Blackadder's men will need to bounce back after their 29-42 away defeat at Exeter.

RC Toulon v Bath Rugby | Saturday 9 December  | Stade Felix-Mayol | 17:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulon 1/4 | Draw 22/1 | Bath 3/1

Toulon

It wasn't too long ago that Toulon's mighty Galacticos were tearing up the European scene, with the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau and Bakkies Botha ensuring that the club from the south of the Mediterranean were the most feared outfit in Europe. In a short space of time, however, Toulon have rapidly regressed, and despite playing in last season's Top 14 final, currently find themselves in seventh, with an uphill battle to qualify for the knockouts.

Domestic form aside, Fabian GalthiƩ's charges have a good shot at securing an easier passage to the Champions Cup quarter-finals when Bath visit on the weekend. A superb second-half showing against Lyon this past Saturday propelled them to a comfortable win after a rather rocky start, will look to ride that confidence into their upcoming encounter.

The seemingly departing Duane Vermeulen will need to round up his loose-forward troops to curb the impact of Bath's first-five eighth, whether it be Freddie Burns or the revitalized Rhys Priestland, while Chris Ashton will need to continue his fantastic scoring form from the back. This game should be won in the midfield, however, and with Mathieu Basteraud and Malakai Fekitoa in such fine touch, Toulon should fare better in the middle of the park.

Bath

Bath haven't exactly looked title-contenders this season on any front, and may struggle to live with the raw physicality of Toulon this weekend. Aside from their gallant 18-13 away win in Llanelli over the Scarlets and a few impressive wins in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, the Englishmen have had a rather by the numbers season; their latest result having been that ugly loss at Sandy Park.

Blackadder will demand his charges play most of their rugby deep inside Toulon territory to perhaps force some penalties and milk three-points, but the sheer brute force of the hosts' pack may mean they dictate most of the proceedings. Bath will also have to cope with the electrifying pace of Ashton as he comes into play off the latter phases. This game may just prove too big an ask so far away from the safe confines of the Bath's home ground, the 'Rec'.

Verdict: Toulon 1/4
Following their wonderful win on the weekend, Toulon should make it another on Saturday. They have far too much class for Bath to handle and, on the basis of that win over Lyon, should be far too confident to boot.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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