Joey Barton v Jonny Wilkinson Playing Rugby?

30 June 2013 12:54
Toulon and Marseille have decided to take each other on in a battle-of-the-sports pre-season friendly.

Which might just mean that former Toon skipper Joey Barton could find himself in a line-up against 15 angry men.

The rugby club and the football team will clash on July 17 at Toulon's Stade Mayol stadium.

There will be a half of rugby, a half of football - although quite how an overall winner will be established is a bit less clear.

As for the referees, who else would be appropriate than Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, and former France rugby head coach Marc Lievremont?

The match, billed as 'Le choc' (The Shock) is being staged for a good cause, with ticket sales supporting families with children battling cancer.

But as noble a cause as it is, the risks for the footballers in particular if either side play even close to their best are potentially quite concerning.

Toulon were runners-up in the Top 14 last season but triumphant in the Heineken Cup, thanks in no small part to their English fly-half Jonny Wilkinson.

Marseille, for their part, were runners-up to Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 last season., and have a big season ahead on the domestic and European front - the first game of the 2013-14 season is less than a month away from the start of the friendly.

Barton, who spent last year on loan at Marseille, has not yet determined his future, and is currently owned by Queen's Park Rangers.

But, before this fixture had been announced at least, he was believed to be keen on a return.


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