Toulon team to beat in European Rugby Champions Cup, says Scarlets star

Scarlets prop Samson Lee believes that reigning European champions Toulon are again the team to beat

By Gareth Llewellyn

Samson Lee believes that reigning European champions Toulon are again the team to beat as the Scarlets prepare to head to the south of France.

The 21-year-old tighthead prop expects a tough afternoon in the European Rugby Champions Cup on Sunday as he comes up against Toulon’s ferocious pack, including a childhood hero in former All Black Carl Hayman.

“It’s going to be a big old test and a good experience [for me] against the top team,” Lee said. “Toulon are the side to beat in Europe this year.

“You have a look at the squad list, but try not to focus too much on it. I looked up to Carl Hayman growing up, along with Adam Jones.

“It’ll be a really big test in the scrum this week. They have a really heavy pack and it’s going to be tough.”

The Scarlets face a gruelling European having been campaign drawn alongside Toulon as well as two other former winners in Leicester Tigers and Ulster, with the new 20-team tournament designed to ensure only the best clubs in Europe compete.

Despite winning against Harlequins at The Stoop on the opening weekend in Europe last season, a trip to the Stade Felix Mayol should pose an even bigger test.

The reigning champions boast one of the best European home records in the competition, backed by a vociferous crowd, but the Scarlets expect hundreds of fans to make the trip from West Wales to the Côte d’Azur.

“Clermont was a big test last season,” Lee added. “The crowds out in France are unbelievable.

“We have to have a solid platform this weekend and hopefully the backs will help us out.

“We have to take it one step at a time, concentrate on this weekend first, and then see where we go.”


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