Toulon’s Head Coach Bernard Laporte has threatened to forefeit their upcoming Top 14 game against Casters, citing concerns for player safety.
Laporte’s Toulon side will be shorn of a number of first team players who are involved in the upcoming international series and is believed to be unwilling to risk sending out an under-prepared young team to challenge Castres.
“If we can forfeit the match, we’ll forfeit it. Personally, that doesn’t bother me,” said the former France coach after his side went top of the league with a nine-try 61-28 thrashing of Grenoble.
“Take five points and we’ll have none but I prefer that to having two serious injuries. I’m not kidding,” added Laporte, whose main concern is around his front row.
Toulon have been left with just one first choice hooker (Jean-Charles Orioli) whilst he faces the same issue at tighthead through a mix of injuries and call-ups.
Only Karim Bougherara is available at tighthead and the 25-year-old played his first six minutes in the Top 14 against Grenoble.
Laporte wants the French league to cover the insurance costs of his inexperienced team;
“Three weeks ago I phoned (LNR president) Paul Goze to ask him for a League document because we’ll be obliged to play youngsters and if something happens to them, I don’t want to be responsible,” fumed Laporte.
“I won’t go to Castres if I don’t have a document signed by the League that says if there’s a problem with the youngsters, they’ll take responsibility.
“Right now, we don’t have two young players in those positions (hooker and tight-head) with the ability to play in the first team. We’ll take them by default and that’s where it becomes dangerous.”
Do you think Toulon have brought this on themselves by focussing on signing established internationals or should there be less impact on clubs from international games?