sport

Toulon v Munster preview

Jonny Wilkinson will spearhead Heineken Cup holders Toulon's charge as they take on Munster in Sunday's semi-final.

Jonny Wilkinson will spearhead Heineken Cup holders Toulon's charge as they take on two-time champions Munster in Sunday's semi-final clash in Marseille.

England's World Cup winner, who is primed to retire this summer after 17 years of top-level rugby, has recovered from hamstring trouble in time to line up against Rob Penney's side at the atmospheric Stade Velodrome.

Toulon will garner huge support in the south of France and they will be gunning for back-to-back Irish scalps after the star-studded side downed Leinster at Stade Mayol in the last eight.

The statistics don't make good reading for the visitors with six of the last eight Heineken Cup semi-finals won by clubs with a home advantage.

Hooker Damien Varley - who has played 116 games for Munster and gained two Irish caps - will captain the Munstermen in what will be their 11th appearance in the European Cup semi-final.

Sean Dougall returns to Rob Penney's starting XV for the first time since Perpignan away in December and joins CJ Stander and James Coughlan in the back-row.

Casey Laulala has also recovered from a fractured bone in his hand to take his place in the back-line.

Meanwhile, JJ Hanrahan and Tommy O'Donnell are named as replacements.

The winners of Sunday's clash will play the victors in Saturday's first semi-final at Twickenham between Saracens and another French outfit Clermont, who Toulon beat in the final last year.

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Jonny Wilkinson (c), 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde; 1 Xavier Chiocci, 2 Craig Burden, 3 Carl Hayman, 4 Danie Rossouw, 5 Jocelino Suta, 6 Juan Smith, 7 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 8 Steffon Armitage. Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Virgile Bruni, 20 David Smith, 21 Maxime Mermoz, 22 Michael Claassens, 23 Konstantine Mikautadze.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Dave Kilcoyne, 2 Damien Varley (c), 3 BJ Botha, 4 Dave Foley, 5 Paul O'Connell, 6 CJ Stander, 7 Sean Dougall, 8 James Coughlan. Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Donncha O'Callaghan, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Denis Hurley.