Toulon hit back with Toulouse win

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 18:21
Large toulon players celebrate 800

TOP 14 WRAP: Toulon flexed their muscles with a 32-15 bonus-point Top 14 victory at Toulouse on Sunday, which could have saved under-fire manager Diego Dominguez his job.

A sign of their determination to put the record straight, Toulon played down to the wire and got the bonus point with Charles Ollivon's third try in the final minute.

"We answered our critics today," said Toulon's forwards coach Jacques Delmas.

"Diego [Dominguez] is a winner, a humble person. He was surely very hurt but never doubted his players and his staff. Things went our way but we're not going to get carried away. We owed this revenge to our fans. I don't know if we've been forgiven but we showed another side. Toulon has regained some of its colour."

Toulon move up to fourth with La Rochelle climbing to the summit of the table on Saturday, as Fiji back Kini Murimurivalu scored a brace in a thumping 43-18 win over promoted Lyon.

Brive, the leaders coming into the weekend, drop to fifth after suffering their first loss, 23-36 at rock-bottom Grenoble, who claimed their first win of the season.

After two defeats in three games against lowly Bayonne and Brive, last year's finalists Toulon had come to the Ernest-Wallon stadium looking to make a point ahead of facing big opposition in Racing 92, Clermont and Montpellier.

After an early round of observation during which Toulouse squandered six points up front, Toulon began to lay the groundwork for victory after 20 minutes. An opening try from captain Guilhem Guirado was followed by a first in the Top 14 for pacy Argentine Sevens sensation Axel Muller from 80 metres out just before the break, with the visitors leading 18-9.

Toulouse closed the gap thanks to a penalty from 50 metres off the boot of Florian Fritz on 52 minutes but Ugo Mola's men were unable to reverse the trend, losing the duel of the kickers. Leigh Halfpenny added two more penalties on 54 and 66 minutes to bring his tally to four, with Sebastien Bezy missing a decisive kick from 25 metres on 72 minutes that could have put Toulouse back in the match.

And Toulon proved that they were far from in crisis with a Francois Trinh-Duc drop kick on 75 minutes followed by Ollivon's try.

"We felt like we were playing against a wall and couldn't find a way through," said Toulouse coach Mola.

"When you concede 30 points at home you have to hold your head in shame, shut up and get back to work. I hope we'll be able to hold our heads up again quickly because today Toulouse took a real knock.

"Everyone will have to question themselves. Bravo to Toulon who deserved their win and proved today that they are still a great team."

Unbeaten La Rochelle are two points clear of Clermont who throttled defending champions Racing in Saturday's bonus-point 47-10 home victory. Stade Francais dug in for a 29-25 win over Castres, despite being reduced to 14 men after Jules Plisson was sent off, to sit third and equal on 11 points with Toulon after four matches.

Toulouse drop to ninth after their second straight defeat.

French Top 14 results:

Sunday, September 11

Grenoble 36-23 Brive
Toulouse 15-32 Toulon

Saturday, September 10

Stade Francais 29-25 Castres
La Rochelle 43-18 Lyon
Montpellier 41-13 Pau
Bordeaux-Begles 40-20 Bayonne
Clermont 47-10 Racing

French Top 14 table:
(played, won, drawn, lost, points for, points against, bonus points, total points)

La Rochelle    4 3 1 0 121  85 1 15
Clermont       4 2 2 0 133  92 1 13
Stade Francais 4 2 1 1 133 103 1 11
Toulon         4 2 0 2  98  86 3 11
Montpellier    4 2 0 2 107  74 2 10
Brive          4 2 1 1  91  92 0 10
Bordeaux       4 2 0 2  87  83 1  9
Racing 92      4 2 0 2  76  92 1  9
Toulouse       4 2 0 2  71  89 0  8
Castres        4 1 1 2  83  78 1  7
Lyon           4 1 1 2  81 100 1  7
Bayonne        4 1 1 2  69 100 0  6
Pau            4 1 0 3  67 100 2  6
Grenoble       4 1 0 3  88 131 1  5

Agence France-Presse