Toulon accept Sharks’ challenge

The Sharks have confirmed that they will play European champions Toulon at the Stade Mayol on 5 February.

The fixture was announced last Saturday during half-time of Toulon's Top 14 match against Clermont in Nice.

That followed Sharks CEO John Smit's tweet last Tuesday in which he said: 'Its easier to win Heineken [European] Cup than to contest a @SuperRugby title, @RCTofficiel how do u feel about a game against the SA Conf champs 2014?'

Toulon boss Mourad Boudjellal then described the Sharks' challenge as 'a little inappropriate' but welcomed a match against the SA Super Rugby conference winners.

'I've seen Jaws 1, 2 and 3 and sharks don't scare me. If they want to play against champions, it's wherever and whenever they want.

'If they think it's easy to win the double, then why don't they send their team and we'll see. [Toulon coach] Bernard [Laporte] told me it's not a problem if they want to come and deal the final blow, we're ready to welcome them.'

Confirming the match, Smit said: 'I have huge respect for Toulon and their success in recent years is a clear indication of the brand of rugby they play as well as their work ethic and the pride and passion they have for their club and the game at large.

'It’s always good to play against, learn and share ideas with the best teams around and we are delighted that Toulon has accepted the challenge. We look forward to an epic battle on the field of play and a long-term partnership off it.'

Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP Photo

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Simon Borchardt