The mouth-watering clash against the Heineken Cup powerhouses will take place on Thursday, February 5 at the Stade Mayol, with the Sharks leaving for France on January 31. Barring any injury concerns, it will be the final SuperRugby squad that goes on tour, and Macleod-Henderson said the period of team-building during the week in France would be as important as the actual game.
“Toulon are the best team in Europe, so obviously it’s going to be a good test for us, but it’s also a time when we can strengthen the relationships within the team,” Macleod-Henderson told The Citizen.
The current Springboks in the squad will start training on Monday and most of them will be available for the Toulon match, while the likes of Willem Alberts and Pieter-Steph du Toit are online with their rehabilitation to play in the Sharks’ opening SuperRugby fixture on February 14 against the Cheetahs in Durban.
This year’s SuperRugby competition will be slightly different, with no break in June for international rugby and the World Cup in September providing plenty of motivation for the players.
The focus for the Sharks in their pre-season preparations has been on their attack, with Macleod-Henderson saying they need to score more tries.
“The World Cup is definitely going to up the ante this year and we need to score more tries to win the competition, the Waratahs showed that last year. We’re working on it, we’re spending quite a bit of time on our attack,” he said.
But the 2013 Currie Cup-winning coach said there was still plenty of work going into the details of defence and the breakdown.