Heineken Cup preview: Toulon host Leinster at Stade Felix Mayol
Last Updated: 06/04/14 6:47pm
Sunday's only Heineken Cup quarter-final stands in isolation because it's arguably the best of an outstanding bunch, as Toulon host Leinster.
Between them the two teams have won the tournament four times in the last five seasons - while the fixture also pits together two of the modern greats, Jonny Wilkinson and Brian O'Driscoll, in a final head-to-head.
Wilkinson has one European title to O'Driscoll's three, but only one of them will still be in the running to be Europe's best one last time come Monday.
Toulon head into the contest having won five of their last six domestic fixtures and appear to have banished the January blip that saw them lose at home to Grenoble and watch their 363-day unbeaten record at the Stade Felix Mayol disappear.
Bakkies Botha and Ali Williams will not feature on Sunday due to injury, but Toulon's pack will not lack for Test caps or bite with the likes of Juan Smith and Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe to choose from.
Meanwhile, Wilkinson - who was rested for last weekend's 32-28 win over Toulouse - returns to the starting XV - and will be expected to produce the kind of kicking display that saw off Leicester at the same stage last season.
Gopperth in for Leinster
Leinster will head to France full of belief with 11 of their starting XV part of the Ireland team that lifted the Six Nations trophy in Paris less than a month ago.
But Sunday's contest is perhaps the biggest test in the post-Sexton era and could explain why coach Matt O'Connor has opted for the experience of Jimmy Gopperth at fly-half over Ian Madigan.
Neither number ten has huge experience in this tournament, but that doesn't matter as much when they look around and see Eoin Reddan, Gordon D'Arcy and O'Driscoll at their side - all three having picked up three Heineken Cup titles.
The same goes for Cian Healy, who if possible has become an even better player this season than before the ankle injury that ruled him out of the Lions tour. Healy starts for the 125th time in Leinster colours.
Toulon: 15 D Armitage, 14 Mitchell, 13 Bastareaud, 12 Giteau, 11 Smith, 10 Wilkinson (c), 9 Tillous-Borde; 1 Choicci, 2 Burden, 3 Hayman, 4 Roussouw, 5 Suta, 6 Smith, 7 Fernández Lobbe, 8 S Armitage.
Replacements: 16 Orioli, 17 Fresia, 18 Castrogiovanni, 19 Bruni, 20 Habana, 21 Mermoz, 22 Claassens, 23 Mikautadze
Leinster: 15 Kearney, 14 McFadden, 13 O'Driscoll, 12 D'Arcy, 11 Kearney, 10 Gopperth, 9 Reddan; 1 Healy, 2 Strauss, 3 Ross, 4 Toner, 5 McCarthy, 6 Ruddock, 7 Jennings, 8 Heaslip (c).
Replacements: 16 Cronin, 17 McGrath, 18 Moore, 19 Cullen, 20 Murphy, 21 Boss, 22 Madigan, 23 Kirchner
Watch Toulon v Leinster live on Sky Sports 3 from 4pm on Sunday
Heineken Cup quarter-finals 2014
Take a look at some the best tries from the quarter-final weekend of the Heineken Cup.
Munster, Steffon Armitage and Guy Noves make Dewi Morris' Heineken Cup picks of the week.
Paul O'Connell topped off Munster's dominating performance against Toulouse by scoring the sixth try.
- Toulon hopeful over Wilkinson
- Toulon see off Leinster
- The final four
- McCall: Ulster deserve credit
- No consolation for Cockerill
- Saracens edge 14-man Ulster
- Tigers tamed but only just
- Penney - We were outstanding
- Munster trounce poor Toulouse
- Heaslip: Tough task in Toulon
- Ulster v Saracens: Teams
- Munster v Toulouse: Teams