Bristol Bears vs Toulon Challenge League final preview: where to watch, team news, form guide

Friday’s Challenge Cup final between Bristol Bears and Toulon in France will have a limited crowd of 1,000 spectators, the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said on Monday after it received permission from local authorities.

The match is set to be played at the Stade Maurice David in Aix-en-Provence which has a capacity of over 6,400.

“A limited number of fans will be able to attend the Challenge Cup final after authorities in the Bouches-du-Rhone department granted EPCR permission to sell 1,000 tickets for the showpiece match in Aix-en-Provence,” EPCR said in a statement.

“EPCR is committed to ensuring that all matches in its tournaments are staged in line with public health guidelines in order to prioritise the safety of stakeholders.”

Team news

  • Bristol Bears make six changes from the side that was beaten by Wasps in last weekend’s Gallagher Premiership semi-finals, with the likes of Alapati Leiua and Harry Randall returning to the backline. Dave Attwood will line up against his former side, while Dan Thomas, Yann Thomas and Kyle Sinckler are also included. EPCR European Player of the Year nominee Semi Radradra starts at outside centre.
  • Hooker Anthony Etrillard will captain Toulon as they go in search of a first Challenge Cup crown. Charles Ollivon, Raphael Lakafia and Sergio Parisse make up a devastating back-row whilst Baptiste Serin and Louis Carbonel are the half-back partnership.

Pool positions

Bristol Bears: 1st, Pool 4, 26 points.

RC Toulon: 1st, Pool 2, 28 points.

Knockout stage results 

Bristol Bears: QF – Bristol Bears 56 Dragons 17, SF – Bristol Bears 37 Bordeaux-Begles 20 (AET)

RC Toulon: QF – RC Toulon 11 Scarlets 6, SF – RC Toulon 34 Leicester Tigers 19

Head-to-head record 

Bristol Bears wins: 2

Draws: 0

RC Toulon wins: 0

Leading 2019/20 points-scorers 

Bristol Bears: Callum Sheedy (78), Ioan Lloyd (26), Piers O’Conor & Will Capon (20)

RC Toulon: Anthony Belleau (40), Louis Carbonel (32), Baptiste Serin, Gabin Villiere and Masivesi Dakuwaqa (20)

Key quotes 

  • Pat Lam (Bristol Bears): “This is massive for us; we’ve worked hard for this. Right from the beginning, to have some tangible silverware would be the start of a process of trying to do this year in, year out. This week has all been about taking our learnings from what happened last week and then channelling all of the excitement of a final into making sure we tick off a lot of boxes, and making sure we are ready to go and get the performance that will give us the best chance of winning that silverware.”
  • Tane Takulua (RC Toulon): “A trophy would mean a lot for the team. It would bring more confidence to the club in what we are trying to achieve this year and next year. I’m really happy we made it to the final. I’m really looking forward to it. It would be good to go out and win this cup. When we knew we were going to be playing against Bristol, we got our heads round them and learned a little bit more about them, and what they’re capable of.”

How to watch Challenge Cup final

  • Kick-off time: 8pm (BST)
  • Venue: Stade Maurice David, Aix-en-Provence
  • TV channel: BT Sport 2 from 7.15pm
  • Live stream: Via the BT Sport website or app

Bristol Bears vs Toulon prediction

Bristol suffered a disappointing but fairly competitive loss to Wasps in their Premiership semi-final on Sunday and will hope to rectify that with some silverware here but they will feel like the away side as they travel to neutral ground in France, especially without fans. T

heir opponents, Toulon, come into this match from a Top 14 win over Montpellier and have overcome British sides Leicester ad Scarlets in their last two Challenge Cup fixtures to reach this final. Bristol are the favourites here and should claim their first Challenge Cup trophy in a match that looks set to go over 40 points. Place your bet here with SpreadEX.

Bristol Bears vs Toulon line-ups

Bristol Bears: 15 Max Malins, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (c), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Yann Thomas

Replacements: 16 George Kloska, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Piers O’Conor, 23 Niyi Adeolokun

Toulon: 15 Gervais Cordin, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Gabin Villière, 10 Louis Carbonel, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Raphael Lakafia, 6 Charles Ollivon, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Anthony Etrillard (c), 1 Jean-Baptiste Gros

Replacements: 16 Bastien Soury, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Brian Alainu’uese, 20 Swan Rebbadj, 21 Julien Ory, 22 Tane Takulua, 23 Masivesi Dakuwaqa

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