Glasgow Warriors v Toulon: Five players to watch in the Challenge Cup final

·4-min read
Toulon duo Jiuta Wainiqolo and Charles Ollivon Credit: Alamy
Toulon duo Jiuta Wainiqolo and Charles Ollivon Credit: Alamy

Ahead of the Challenge Cup final between Glasgow Warriors and Toulon at the Aviva Stadium, we pick out five players to watch on Friday.

Narrowing this list down to just five was an incredibly difficult job as there is talent aplenty across both teams, which makes for a fascinating contest.

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Here they are as we go with two Glasgow Warriors and three Toulon players to keep an eye on but it quite easily could have been a good deal more.

Five players to watch in the Challenge Cup final

Charles Ollivon

One of the global game’s elite players, Ollivon is the complete back-row who will no doubt have been a feature in Glasgow’s homework ahead of Friday’s meeting. Despite all the riches in the Les Bleus ranks, his return to the France line-up on last year’s mid-year tour after injury was noticeable and he’s not looked back since.

A player who has everything in his locker from searing pace that is backed up by intelligent running lines that result in frequent crossings, to dominant defence, being a breakdown threat and also an incredibly solid line-out option, Toulon and France are reaping the rewards of the form 30-year-old Ollivon at the moment.

Huw Jones

Jones returns to the Glasgow starting line-up after being on the bench against Munster in their United Rugby Championship quarter-final loss a fortnight ago. That means the famous ‘Huwipulotu’ combination is reignited as Jones links up with Sione Tuipulotu in what was the form centre partnership of the Six Nations.

Tuipulotu has often been the provider for Jones in recent months whether that’s via the hand or boot and the latter star will hope that trend continues on Friday. There is no doubting the threat Jones poses through his speed, step and power in contact so if he shines alongside his Scotland team-mate, Glasgow will flourish.

Sergio Parisse

Drink it in as we probably won’t see much more of the Italian legend on the rugby field for much longer. After this Friday’s Challenge Cup final, next Sunday’s Top 14 clash with Bordeaux-Begles could be his last hurrah, that is unless Azzurri head coach Kieran Crowley opts to bring him in from the cold at Test level.

Parisse‘s form this season for Toulon has been excellent and it is surprising Crowley hasn’t taken a look at him, even if for the benefit of having him around the squad at what would be his sixth World Cup later this year. Alas not, which makes this match in Dublin another chance for Parisse to bang on the door.

Domingo Miotti

Instead of banging down doors, it is opportunity knocks for Miotti in Dublin as, following Tom Jordan’s suspension, the Puma gets the nod to direct the Warriors traffic from fly-half. The talented Argentine, who shot to fame at the Jaguares and with Argentina at Test level, hasn’t enjoyed the same success at Glasgow.

But this is a massive opportunity for Miotti to prove his worth to the Scottish side and going up against the great Dan Biggar only adds to the occasion. The Warriors pivot will look to his powerful back-row, electric nine and lethal midfield combination for go-forward ball and if they give him it he should fare very well.

Jiuta Wainiqolo

Last but by no means least, we are once again excited to watch the talented Wainiqolo on the big stage. Sitting just one try behind Glasgow replacement hooker Johnny Matthews in the try-scoring chart this Challenge Cup campaign, Wainiqolo has a great chance to change that before the hooker comes off the bench.

Since joining Toulon ahead of the 2021/22 season, the Olympic gold medalist in Sevens has been a hit as he slips tackles with ease and glides across the turf. Glasgow will certainly have their hands full containing the Fijian and his individual battle with Warriors skipper Kyle Steyn should be worth the entrance fee alone.

READ MORE: Glasgow Warriors v Toulon: Challenge Cup final preview as Scottish side set to edge French giants in Dublin

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