Flying Sheffield Eagles looking to end Toulouse’s home dominance

Duane Straughier continues to recover from a groin injury
Duane Straughier continues to recover from a groin injury
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Director of rugby Mark Aston says his Sheffield Eagles side have two targets in mind as they prepare for today’s showdown with Toulouse.

Aston, who took his side to the south of France yesterday, is using his opponents’ formidable home record as further incentive to continue his side’s own impressive streak after five wins from seven Championship fixtures.

Unbeaten on home soil in the league this season, the French side are handily placed inside the coveted top four, but Aston’s side will be buoyed by their victory earlier in the season, as they look to achieve their first double of the campaign.

“We want to go there and be the first team to beat them in the league, and that would be a double, which would be the first of the season for us. That’s the target,” Aston explained to The Star.

“We are flying out Friday, and we know that we have to be good. Toulouse have a great home record, they were the first team to beat Hull KR so we know it will be tough. We trained all last week and worked hard on some strengthening and conditioning. They had the weekend off, and then they have been in working hard. Our intensity in training has been very good, the lads look sharp and they look fresh. We are ready.”

Aston is again without Duane Straugheir who continues to recover from a groin issue, but Paddy Flynn is in the 19 man squad as he looks for a long awaited debut.

There is a doubt over winger Garry Lo, but Aston isn’t the only one missing players, with the Eagles chief looking to take advantage of the continued absence of Toulouse talisman Jonathan Ford.

“They have a big miss over the next few weeks because Jonathan Ford is injured, and that’s a place that will take some filling,” Aston added.

“He is their key player, he makes them tick. They have got other people as well, I’m aware they have some real quality in other areas, but Ford is the key man and he’s out.

“They can be vulnerable, Swinton beat them last time when he didn’t play, he didn’t play against us when we beat them. I think in the games that he has been missing they have struggled without him. They have got to get on with it, I’m sure they’ll readjust, but it is about us.”