Racing to put Faumuina's Toulouse 'in good stead' for Champions Cup semi

Illtud DAFYDD
·2 min read

Toulouse's former New Zealand prop Charlie Faumuina said a win over Racing 92 in the Top 14 on Saturday would "put them in good stead" for next weekend's European Champions Cup semi-final.

Faumuina, 34, who made the last of his 50 All Black appearances in 2017, said the focus remains on league duties before hosting Bordeaux-Begles on May 2.

The Parisians, who are set to welcome Scotland fly-half Finn Russell back from suspension, are third in the table, eight points behind Faumuina's league leaders.

"It would be awesome if we can get a good win and performance as it will put us in good stead," tight-head Faumuina told AFP on Thursday.

"I wouldn't say it's a warm-up game for the semi-final because it's a bit more than that.

"Racing, they're a class side. Bordeaux-Begles are next week, and we'll look forward to that when it comes," he added.

Last week, New Zealand Rugby announced two Pacific Islands franchises, the Fiji Drua and Moana Pasifika, are set to feature in Super Rugby from next season.

On Sunday, Pacific Rugby Players Welfare chief Daniel Leo warned Moana, made up of mainly Samoan and Tongan players, could become NZ Rugby's 'Trojan horse'.

"It would be an awesome opportunity for those boys, the opportunity to further their careers by staying closer to home, you can only see it as a good thing from my point of view," Faumuina, who has Samoan heritage, said.

- 'Dangerous' Fickou debut -

Over the past two weekends, half of the scheduled Top 14 fixtures have been impacted by Covid-19 cases among squads with France in its third national lockdown.

"You take it as it is. It's taken a bit of something off the game with fans not there. The atmosphere and noise they bring, the game's not quite the same," Faumuina said.

"The way you prepare for a game is a bit different as well. We've done it for a year now, it's the new norm," he added.

Faumuina is set to face former Toulouse team-mate Gael Fickou at Stade Ernest-Wallon this weekend.

The France centre has left Stade Francais midway through the season to join local rivals Racing and is expected to make his debut for the 2016 champions on Saturday.

"He's a good player. What he brings in attack and defence. He'll be a great player, I hope he doesn't have a good game against us," Faumuina said.

"Hopefully he doesn't know all the calls and all that stuff but Gael makes things out of nothing. That's what's dangerous about him," he added.

Fixtures (times GMT)

Saturday

Lyon v Clermont (1245), Stade Francais v Pau, Toulon v Agen (both 1545), Toulouse v Racing 92 (1905)

Sunday

Bordeaux-Begles v Montpellier (1245)

Postponed - Brive v La Rochelle, Bayonne v La Rochelle

iwd/dj