Wilkinson, the European Player of the Year, played a key role in the French club landing northern hemisphere club rugby’s biggest prize with victory over Clermont Auvergne in last season’s Dublin final. The 34-year-old former England international, who recently underwent a groin operation, will be hoping to launch another successful campaign with the Pool 2 meeting against the Warriors at Stade Felix Mayol on Sunday, October 13. Jonny Wilkinson’s Toulon will begin the defence of their Heineken Cup crown at home to Glasgow Warriors in October. Clermont, meanwhile, will face a testing examination in their Pool 4 opener as they travel to face Top 14 rivals Racing Metro on the same day. Saracens, beaten semi-finalists last term, travel to Connacht in Pool 3 on Friday, October 11, and will take another fixture to Wembley a week later for their mouthwatering meeting with French giants Toulouse. Ulster and Leicester will meet in a crunch Pool 5 engagement on the opening night of the tournament at Ravenhill, and another eagerly-anticipated clash will see Amlin Challenge Cup holders Leinster travel to face the Ospreys in Pool 1 on Saturday, October 12. The other fixture in Pool 1 on the first weekend sees Northampton travel to Castres, while the Saints’ away trip to Leinster in December, a repeat of the memorable 2011 final, will be played at the Aviva Stadium. In Toulon’s group, Cardiff Blues travel to Exeter before hosting the French side the following weekend in what will be the first European club game played on an artificial pitch at the Arms Park. Harlequins kick off their Pool 4 campaign at home to the Scarlets while, in Pool 6, Gloucester host Perpignan and Munster travel to Edinburgh. Tournament organisers European Rugby Cup last week named Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium as the venue for the final, which will take place on Saturday, May 24. But the long-term future of the competition is in doubt. The English and French clubs have served notice they will pull out of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup when the existing participation agreement ends in May 2014; unless changes are made to the sporting and commercial elements of the two tournaments. Press Association
-Local franchise ended last year with 2nd most runs in tournament By Clifton RossGUYANA Amazon Warriors will be seeking to finally shake the proverbial ‘Monkey off their back’ and capture the elusive 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), but will need heavy contributions from two of their premier batsmen– Shimron Hetmyer and Brandon King.With just New Zealand star, Ross Taylor, being the only credible international batsman in the franchise this year, much will rest on the shoulders of the young side which will be entering the Bubble in an attempt to snag the title which they have come so close to capturing a number of times in the past.This year, the former multiple-time finalists have settled for a relatively mixed unit with a number of all-rounders and bowlers filling up the spots. The move has been successful in the past editions, as utility players have proven to be an X-factor for the Warriors.But with no Shoaib Malik, who had been a great servant to the franchise last season, Taylor will need to step up and shepherd the relatively young side, being the most senior batsman in the Warriors mix.However, all eyes will be fixed on King and Hetmyer, as they have been over the previous seasons. Last year, King the Jamaican-born Windies batsman, lit up the CPL, ending with 496 runs along with the highest individual score of 132 not out.As a result, the Warriors finished second overall behind eventual champs Barbados Tridents (2022 runs) with some 1924 runs scored in total by their players. Although Hetmyer was not as dangerous as he’s been in the past, his approach seems to be more mature now as compared to his dashing approach.Months off due to Covid-19 could make for a more refreshed, dangerous Hetmyer and one who could roll back the years and remind the world of his class. Being the youngest centurion in CPL history after smashing a ton back in August of 2018 against the Jamaica Tallawahs, the left-hander has gone onto forge a decent international career with the West Indies.Hetmyer has 5 half-centuries to go along with his ton in T20 cricket, and with more than 700 runs under his belt, this season could see a totally different ‘animal’ being unleashed.Should the pair find their groove early in the 33-match season, it could spell trouble for the other franchises. The ultra-aggressive style of the two batters can be devastating to the opposition should both ‘Warriors’ come out with guns blazing this season.Chandrapaul Hemraj has also been a key figure at the top of the order for the Warriors and his international experience with the West Indies team, as well as with the Guyana Jaguars in Regional cricket, has allowed him to unlock a more aggressive chapter to his cricket.The Warriors batting structure this season remains a mystery but one thing is for sure, batting will play a bigger role than it has ever played before for the local franchise. If Hetmyer and King can combine and take the pressure off of the other batsmen, the likes of Taylor, Nicholas Pooran, Anthony Bramble and the hard-hitting all-rounders, Keemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford, will have more room to play an even bigger role in the crucial stages of any match.Also, with this season being played under strict Biosecurity rules in Trinidad & Tobago due to the pandemic, the 33 games will be split between two venues– the Brian Lara Cricket Stadium and the Queen’s Park Oval; both of which are premier venues for Regional 50-Over, T20 and 4-Day cricket.Should the Warriors find their right batting combination early on in the competition, coupled with their world-class lot of bowlers, it is likely that the seven-year jinx could finally be broken and the long-awaited title being nestled nicely on the Warriors’ shelf.