PORTUGUESE-BORN Carlos Mendes Varela could be included in Gilles Dumas’ squad when Toulouse Olympique host Northern Rail Cup winners Widnes on Saturday.
The 25-year-old centre has joined Toulouse from Lyon-Villeurbanne, after impressing in France’s Elite 1 competition.
Olympique lost 54-16 in a bruising battle against Halifax last week.
Dumas said: “We’re in a period now where we’re playing against all the top teams. Halifax are a cut above the others, but we must fight back against Widnes.”
Vikings’ coach Paul Cullen believes the forward battle will be crucial to deciding Saturday’s winners.
Cullen said: “We will need a big pack to compete against Toulouse and we’ll also have to take into account the weather conditions over there.
“They have certainly improved since we met in the opening game of the season and our defence and discipline will have to improve from last week’s display at Gateshead.”