RugbyU: Waratahs in talks with Toulon for glamour club game


SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia s NSW Waratahs are negotiating to play in a billed World Club Championship game against French giants Toulon just a week before their Super Rugby title defence kicks off, reports said Friday.

The Waratahs are in talks with the Top 14 champions about playing the game in Toulon on February 5 or 6, before making a dash back to Sydney to prepare for their Super Rugby season opener against Western Force on February 15, The Daily Telegraph said.

The newspaper said because it would be the Wallabies-studded Tahs  final pre-season game they would field a strong side featuring nearly all the players who took the 2014 Super Rugby title.

The match throws up the possibility of Kurtley Beale v Matt Giteau, Israel Folau v Leigh Halfpenny and Adam Ashley-Cooper v Drew Mitchell if the negotiations can be finalised.

Waratahs captain Dave Dennis said his side would only make the long trip if they felt it would not hamper their preparations for their opening Super 15 match in Sydney.

“It still can happen, it s a possibility, at this stage if it was to happen it would be our last trial,” Dennis told the newspaper.

“It would have to be a Thursday or Friday game over there so we have time to travel back and start our normal week for the Force.

“We ve got a Sunday game so we re going to have to get back by the previous Saturday or Sunday to start a normal Monday week.

“Obviously there is a bit of a gamble there. It is a great opportunity for us as a club, but you want to be in the best position to win the first round.

“We ve got to get that balance, so that s where it was all left when I last spoke to Cheik (coach Michael Cheika).”

Dennis said Cheika was in France last week as coach of the Wallabies and may have had the opportunity to talk to Toulon officials.

“From the players  point of view they d want to go, and from a rugby perspective fan point of view it would be good,” Dennis said.

“Hopefully it can still come to fruition.”

Toulon boasts a who s who of rugby stars on their past and present rosters, including Giteau, Leigh Halfpenny, Mitchell, Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Carl Hayman, Ali Williams and Juan Smith.



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