Toulouse have 'little hope' for Munster trip

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 11:43
Large florianfritztoulouse

EUROPEAN CUP SPOTLIGHT:: Already needing a "miracle" to reach the Top 14 play-offs, Toulouse travel to Munster for Saturday's European Champions Cup quarter-final admitting they have faint hope of progressing.

It's been a difficult start to 2017 for Toulouse, losing five of their last six league matches and dropping to 10th in the French Top 14 - only the top six qualify for the end of season play-offs.

They only just scraped into the Champions Cup quarter-finals by denying Connacht a losing bonus point in their final pool match.

And now they return to Thomond Park for the first time since a 47-23 quarter-final mauling by Munster three years ago.

"We're not in denial. Our league difficulties haven't put us in the best shape to contest a European Champions Cup quarter-final," admitted coach Ugo Mola.

"The way we've played these last few weeks obviously leaves little hope for the final result,"

Centre Florian Fritz said Toulouse will have to considerably raise their game to retain any hope of progressing to the semi-finals.

And he hasn't forgotten the last trip to Limerick.

"We competed for an hour and then we capitulated and finished up conceding 40 points," he said.

"We need to produce a lot more than we have been recently because Munster are a calibre above.

"And if we don't manage to up our game, we can hope for nothing over there."

But poor league form has left confidence at a premium for the record four-time European champions.

They run the risk of missing out on the French play-offs for the first time in 41 years.

"It's difficult, we're unable to impose our game. It's tough to see Toulouse 10th in the league and now, it would be a miracle to qualify for the play-offs," added Fritz.

Despite the general doom and gloom, France centre Gael Fickou believes an upset is possible, albeit unlikely.

"Honestly, if we looked at what we've done the last two months, we'd tell ourselves there's no point going there," said Fickou.

"But that's not rugby -- everything's possible and on our day we can do it.

"Maybe from the outside you don't believe but we know we're capable of doing it."

Fritz added: "If we manage to do something over there, that could put us in a great dynamic.

"Pulling off an exploit at Munster and playing a European semi-final could obviously save our season,"

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 5 0 1 24
Glasgow Warriors 6 4 0 2 19
Leicester Tigers 6 2 0 4 8
Racing Metro 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 1 1 22
Toulouse 6 3 2 1 18
Connacht 6 4 0 2 18
Zebre 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 5 1 0 24
Toulon 6 3 0 3 16
Scarlets 6 2 1 3 11
Sale Sharks 6 1 0 5 4
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 4 1 1 23
Montpellier 6 3 0 3 16
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Northampton Saints 6 2 0 4 9
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 26
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 14
Exeter Chiefs 6 2 0 4 12
Ulster 6 2 0 4 10