Steffon Armitage is reportedly one of the players struggling with flu. Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Not over yet

Toulon cancel training as flu virus strikes ahead of Ulster clash

RCT’s star backline has been badly affected, according to a report in one French newspaper.

TOULON WERE FORCED to cancel a training session planned for today after a number of their star players were struck down with influenza.

Ulster travel to Stade Mayol on Saturday with their European dreams seemingly all but over, and while Neil Doak’s side would never wish illness on their opponents, Toulon’s struggles may be slightly more welcome on this occasion.

Local French newspaper Var Matin, which has strong links to RCT, reports that backline lynchpins Leigh Halfpenny, Sébastien Tillous-Borde, Maxime Mermoz, Mathieu Bastareaud, Drew Mitchell, and Bryan Habana are suffering with the virus.

Furthermore, key men Steffon Armitage and Chris Masoe were unavailable for this morning’s forwards session.

As a result, the Toulon players have been sent home to rest and head coach Bernard Laporte is planning a collective training session tomorrow instead. Var Matin says RCT are hopeful that the sick players will have “pepped up” in time for the 13.15 [Irish time] kick-off against Ulster on Saturday afternoon.

Regardless of the flu within their playing ranks, Toulon have named a full-strength 23-man squad to face Doak’s side at Stade Mayol, but Ulster will take any advantage they can get as their Champions Cup hopes hang by a thread.

23-man Toulon squad to face Ulster:

Forwards: Xavier Chiocci, Jean-Charles Orioli, Guilhem Guirado, Carl Hayman, Martin Castrogiovanni, Florian Fresia, Jacques Suta, Romain Taofifenua, Ali Williams, Mamuka Gorgodze, Chris Masoe, Juan Smith, Steffon Armitage.

Backs: Sébastien Tillous-Brode, Nicolas Sanchez, Éric Escande, Matt Giteau, Mathieu Bastareaud, Maxime Mermoz, Rudi Wulf, Drew Mitchell, Bryan Habana, Leigh Halfpenny.

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