Biarritz v Toulouse, Heineken Cup Quarter-Final, April 9
Biarritz on revenge mission
ESPNscrum Staff
April 8, 2011
The Biarritz players collapse, dejected, at the final whistle, Biarritz v Toulouse, Heineken Cup final, Stade de France, Paris, France, May 22, 2010
Biarritz react to their final defeat to Toulouse at the Stade de France last year © Getty Images
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Tournaments/Tours: Heineken Cup
Teams: Biarritz | France | Toulouse

Biarritz take on Toulouse in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals on Sunday in a repeat of last year's finale.

Toulouse claimed their fourth Heineken Cup crown with a narrow 21-19 victory over Biarritz at the Stade de France last season but if they are to add to that tally they must overcome the Basques at their part-time home - the daunting Estadio Anoeta in San Sebastian.

Biarritz booked their place in the last eight by topping Pool 4 despite losing to Aironi and fellow quarter-finalist Ulster. Toulouse racked up five victories on their way to topping Pool 6 but Biarritz' superior try count saw them edge out their French rivals in the seeding and secure priceless home advantage.

Both Top 14 meetings this season have been close and gone with home advantage, Biarritz winning 25-20 in Round 6 and Toulouse 23-19 in Round 19 but the 32,000-sell out at the cauldron that is the Estadio Anoeta is set to be a world away from their domestic battles.

Biarritz - Player to watch: Imanol Harinordoquy produced another eye-catching display in Paris last year - and not only because of his face mask. The scars of that defeat are sure to inspire another strong showing on the European stage.

Biarritz - Team news: Dimitri Yachvili gets the nod at scrum-half ahead of Yann Lesgourgues, who drops to the bench. Props Eduardo Coetzee and Sylvain Marconnet come in for James Afoa and Campbell Johnstone while the back-row is bolstered by the return of Harinordoquy at openside and Rafaƫl Lakafia at No.8 ahead of Samiu Vahafolau and Florian Faure. Damien Traille pulled up in training on Friday and is replaced in the XV by Charles Gimenez.

Toulouse - Player to watch: International winger Vincent Clerc has a record 32 Heineken Cup tries to his name and will be out to add to that mark and silence the San Sebastian faithful.

Toulouse - Team news: Clerc and Maxime Medard return to the wings at the expense of Vilimoni Delasau and Rupeni Caucaunibuca. Nicolas Bezy is promoted to the No.9 shirt in the place of the injured Frederic Michalak and will partner fly-half David Skrela. Daan Human and William Servat pack down at loose-head and hooker ahead of Jean-Baptiste Poux and Virgile Lacombe However, Human faces a late fitness test and if he is ruled out his place will be taken by Poux and Victor Paquet will come onto the bench.

Key Battle: The back-row battle is sure to go a long way to deciding this clash so expect fireworks when the Biarritz trio of Magnus Lund, Imanol Harinordoquy and Rafael Lakafia go head-to-head with Toulouse's Jean Bouilhou, Sylvain Nicolas, Louis Picamoles

Trivia: Biarritz' last appearance at the Estadio Anoeta came in last season's Heineken Cup quarter-finals where they claimed an epic 29-28 over the Ospreys.

Stats: Biarritz scored 140 points in the pool stages - the lowest total out of all the quarter-finalists.

Quote Unquote:

"I think that this club deserves European recognition. Out of the 11 seasons Biarritz have played in the tournament, the club has reached eight quarter-finals, which must mean something. What we need is that little extra that great teams have to win the title." - Biarritz centre Damien Traille is looking for an edge

"San Sebastian is the sort of place that any opposition dreads going to. The crowd and the atmosphere they generate give the Biarritz players a head-start from the kick-off. I should know because that was how I felt when they were cheering for me." Toulouse prop Census Johnston relives his days playing for Biarritz

Prediction: Biarritz will no doubt raise their game but are set to come up short against a formidable Toulouse side who have been here so many times before.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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