Challenge Cup: Lyon v Toulouse Preview

Lyon will be looking to bounce back from last week's defeat to Toulouse when they host their domestic rivals in the reverse tie at the Matmut Stadium de Gerland this Saturday. 

It will be all to play for when Lyon and Toulouse lock horns in an all-French Challenge Cup affair at the Matmut Stadium de Gerland this coming Saturday. Only three points separate the two sides on the Challenge Cup Pool 2 standings, and a win for either would heavily enhance the victor's chances of advancing to the next phase of the competition.

Lyon Olympique v Stade Toulousain | Saturday 16 December | Matmut Stadium de Gerland | 22:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Lyon 6/10 | Draw 20/1 | Toulouse 27/20

The men from France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region really aren't enjoying the rub of the green at the moment as they were once again done by a very low margin, going down 30-23 to Toulouse, despite playing 52 minutes of the game a man down. Their plucky showing will be of little comfort for 'The Wolves', who would have been desperate to claim victory over their domestic rivals. They will get another bite at that particular cherry this coming weekend as they welcome Toulouse to the 'Matmut' for what should be an epic rematch.

While Lyon did manage to pick up a losing bonus point last weekend, head coach Matthieu Lazerges still cut a frustrated figure during his post-match conference as he felt his side shot themselves in the foot when they let in two tries during the opening five minutes of the fixture. Don't expect the same mistakes from 'The Wolves' this coming weekend as they would have been given a sound tongue lashing from their mentor, which will still be ringing in their ears this coming weekend.

While it wasn't exactly a case of 'snatch and grab' from Toulouse last week, the men from 'The Pink City' can count themselves lucky that Lyon got off to such a slow start as the visitors dominated huge swathes of the second stanza. This will be extremely worrying for Toulouse head coach Ugo Mola as not only did his side have a numerical advantage but they also weren't the ones chasing the game.

There were encouraging signs for Mola to focus upon, however, particularly the performance of former Sharks and EP Kings winger, Wandile Mjekevu, who scored the opening two tries for his side.

Mola will need more of a concerted effort from his forward pack this coming weekend though, particularly the heavy armoury coming off the bench. The Toulouse 'fatties' looked rather fatigued during the final twenty minutes of last week's contest and allowed the Lyon heavies to take control at the set piece. A similar showing from the Toulouse eight this week could well see the visitors come away from this one with nothing.

Verdict: Lyon 6/10
They were unlucky to lose last week with the early Toulouse blitz forcing Lyon to play catch up. I think a return to home soil and a massive rallying call from the Lyon 'brains trust' will ensure the hosts take the win this Saturday.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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