Minutely aware as Richard Cockerill is of the quality confronting his side as they seek to strengthen their grip on their Champions Cup pool, Edinburgh’s head coach knows there are underlying issues belabouring his former club Toulon than can be exploited this afternoon.

Victory would come close to ensuring that the team representing the Scottish capital completes an astonishing pool campaign by qualifying for the knockout stages on their first appearance in the competition in five years.

Man for man or, more to the point, wage bill versus wage bill, they should stand little or no chance of becoming just the third team in competition history to beat the three-time champions on their own patch.Yet no-one better understands the importance of culture within an organisation than the man who has turned things around at Edinburgh by changing attitudes rather than flashing a cheque book around and on his return to Toulon yesterday Cockerill suggested it is evident all is not well in the rugby-obsessed city, with today’s hosts struggling at the wrong end of France’s Top 14 table, as well as bottom of their Champions Cup pool.

“There’s clearly something not quite right,” he said. “With the personnel they’ve got, when you name that backline and the quality they’ve got and the cost of that backline there’s something not quite clicking at the moment for whatever reason. We’re trying to get the sum out of our parts and they probably know themselves that they’re not playing as well as they can, but clearly they’ve got enough quality so if it does click on the day they’re good enough to beat anybody. We’ve got to be wary of that but we’re confident we can compete and we’ve got to stay in the battle and make sure we keep building the pressure on the opposition and if we get chances score points.”

If Edinburgh perhaps caught Toulon by surprise at Murrayfield when they met previously in October, Cockerill acknowledged that there will be no chance of a repeat of that in the Stade Mayol today and while there will be some unfamiliar faces in the Toulon line-up, the overall strength of the side they have picked is a reminder that even if the French giants have little chance of reaching the quarter-finals, they will not want to be embarrassed on their home patch.

“I think they’ll know that we’re a good side,” he said. “They’ll always be a different beast at home, as all French teams. They’ve picked a slightly different team again, with a few young players on the bench and in the back line. We’ll have to do some homework on the full-back, because I’d never heard of him before, but there’s real quality around. Rhys Webb, Anthony Belleau, (Julian) Savea, (Francois) Trinh-Duc, (Mathieu) Bastareaud, (JP) Pietersen - they’re fantastic, world-class players. (Guilhem) Guirado, (Juandre) Kruger, (Romain) Taofifenua, Facundo Isa, world-class internationals.”

“Certainly Toulon, in the context of where they are, need to deliver a big performance, because they’re at home, and will expect to beat an Edinburgh team. They still have an outside chance of qualifying depending on other results, so we’ve just got to expect them to be very, very good and make sure we play to our potential. If we do that, and are physically and mentally right, we’ll give ourselves every chance to win.”

Cockerill reckons his own understanding of what they are up against gives his men “a five per cent advantage on what we might have had,” and that the players now have the experience and belief to do the rest.

“We don’t fear anybody,” he said. “When we played in Montpellier we showed we can compete against these teams. From Newcastle and Glasgow we know we can play away from home and win. We’ll still be underdogs, because on paper they should win at the Stade Mayol, but we’re going to come here and give it everything. We’re in a great position to qualify; we want to try and do that or at least get three-quarters of the way there. We’re coming here with excitement and with respect for the opposition, but we’re not turning up expecting to lose, we’re turning up expecting to be equals and going full out to get a result.

“For me, you look at that [Toulon] forward pack and at our pack and we’re man for man as good as they are. Rambo (Stuart McInally) is the equal of Guirado and that will be a hell of a battle. Facundo Isa against Watson is a great battle too, Vili Mata has been outstanding for us and Jamie Ritchie has been growing into his international role very, very well. That front five, we like to think we’re pretty tough and resilient and will go towards anybody. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”