Leinster won't have it all their own way against Toulon on Friday, but Stephen Ferris says he's still backing the recently crowned four-in-a-row Guinness Pro14 champions to progress.

While the eastern province have completely dominated the domestic game for nearly half a decade, their form in Europe has been less impressive. They were last champions back in 2018 but lost the 2019 final to Saracens before being beaten in last season's quarter-finals by the same opponents.

Their performance against Munster last weekend was stop-start as they failed to convert early pressure into first-half tries. Ultimately though Jack Conan was able to get over for a five pointer shortly after half-time, and they could see it out from there.

They go into Friday's contest with Toulon as favourites despite having never beaten them before. The sides met most recently in back to back group games in the 15/16 season, with Leinster losing by four points in Dublin. That's the closest they've gotten.

Leinster have never beaten Toulon in European competition

Six days before that Leinster had been completely outclassed on the Mediterranean, losing by 15 points at the Stade Felix Mayol. Toulon also put paid to their European campaigns in the previous year's semi-final, as well as the 2014 quarter-final.

So undoubtedly Leo Cullen, who replaced Matt O'Connor at the start of the 15/16 season, will feel that a team coached by him owes the French side one.

But former Ireland international Ferris says that Toulon have powerful forwards.

"I'm so excited to see Cian Healy, Rónan Kelleher and Tadhg Furlong up against Jean Baptiste Gros, Christopher Tolofua, Beka Gigashvili," he said on RTÉ's Game On.

"If you were a coach of Toulon that's certainly an area (forwards) that you'd be trying to exploit. It's a hard task. Furlong is in flying form. We've all seen the video of him dancing around the tackles (against Scotland in Edinburgh).

"Kelleher is back in good form while Healy is a bit of a beast in there. I'm not sure there are too many teams that would give Leinster a hard time up front at the minute, especially with Furlong back.

"But if there is one that that might eke out a few penalties or cause a bit of upset in that area it could be Toulon.

"It's such a battle. Donncha will tell you it's all about winning the battle up front against the French sides. If they can do that they have the maestro that is Johnny Sexton at out-half.

"Leinster are huge favourites after what they did to Munster but I think it might be closer than people think. 

"Ultimately I'm going for Leinster on this one. I think a 10-15 point win, but it won't come easy."

Munster head into Saturday's game off the back of more domestic disappointment

On Saturday Munster and Toulouse will lock horns in Europe for the seventh time.

There was a real sense that the southerners could finally pick up a trophy last weekend, and when Leinster failed to take their first-half chances it looked like it might be their day.

But ultimately Joey Carbery's penalty on the stroke of half-time was their last score of the contest as they failed to get motoring after the break.

"It was almost like they took a bit of a backwards step," suggested Ferris.

"They didn't make enough line breaks. Peter O'Mahony went off injured. The front row - Cronin, Scannell and Ryan - didn't really stand up to the Leinster front row. They lost that battle, and they lost the kicking battle.

"It's all about dusting themselves down and picking themselves back up again. They have to put all of their focus into this match against Toulouse - it's their only chance of silverware this season.

"I know Toulouse lost last weekend to Montpellier but they're flying high in the Top 14. They're also welcoming back French internationals like Romain Ntamack, and then Cheslin Kolbe will probably be back on the wing.

"Jerome Kaino, it's his last season for Toulouse, so they've lots of pedigree. I think this is going to be another hard day at the office for Munster.

"A bit like Leinster if they lose that battle up front they're going to be in for a tough day.

"Munster are at home. Their European form this season has been very good. We remember the Clermont away victory which nobody expected.

"Their key players have to pick it up. Joey Carbery was poor at the weekend - defensively and offensively. Conor Murray was the talk of the town after that England win, but he seemed a bit rusty against Leinster.

"So we need those big game players to make a mark. But then you look at the Toulouse team and they're just littered with top class players.

"They're favourites for this game and it's hard to look past them. Never write off Munster, especially when their backs are to the wall they usually come out fighting. It's going to be the game of the weekend, it's going to be epic. Wayne Barnes is going to be refereeing this game so anything can happen.

"Toulouse are going away to an empty Thomand Park with a huge pack and a couple of superstars - they're certainly going to fancy their chances.

"I'm going for Toulouse in that one."

Follow Leinster v Toulon (5.30pm, Friday) and Munster v Toulouse (3pm, Saturday) in Champions Cup action via our live blogs on RTE.ie and the RTÉ News app or listen live on RTÉ 2fm's Game On and RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.