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Sharks vs Toulon preview

Sale Sharks face the massive task of taking on Toulon on French soil when they visit the Stade Mayol on Sunday.

The Sharks slim hopes of qualifying for the knockout rounds of the Champions Cup are still alive after Scarlets edged the French giants to a 22-21 victory in Llanelli in December.

Aviva Premiership rivals Saracens inflicted Toulon’s only ever home defeat in Europe’s top-tier competition, with a 31-23 win in round one back in October.

Sale Sharks last outing saw them lose out narrowly to Harlequins, another side who are dominant on home soil. Sale came away with a losing bonus point after a 29-26 defeat, with the London side being unbeaten at the Stoop in nine months.

In the French Top 14 division, Toulon lost out 30-6 to league leaders Clermont last time out, taking their record to three losses in their last five domestic games.

While Mamuka Gorgodze boasts the greatest number of tackles and maintaining a 100 per-cent success rate, with 34, Sharks fullback Mike Haley is second in the standings for number of defenders beaten, with 16.

A quick look at the history books shows that Sale have actually scored more tries in the European Cup than Toulon, albeit by a single score. The Sharks have 102 to their name, while the French side have 101.

AJ MacGinty is Sharks top scorer in this year’s competition after kicking eight points, a stark contrast to Leigh Halfpenny’s tally of 60.

In the build up to the 15-5 home loss to Toulon earlier in the season, Steve Diamond likened the three-time European Champions to footballing juggernauts Barcelona.

The team travel to the south of France on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s game, which will be officiated by Irishman George Clancy.

This article was written for the Sale Sharks website, and the original post can be viewed here.

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