Six-try Toulon give Ford winning start
TOP 14 WRAP: Three-time European champions Toulon gave new coach Mike Ford a winning Top 14 start with a commanding 42-12 victory over struggling Grenoble on Saturday.
Ford was promoted to the top job from backs coach at the French giants in midweek by multi-millionaire owner Mourad Boudjellal, who had sacked Diego Dominguez.
Toulon ran in six tries for the winning bonus point with Mathieu Bastareaud, Mamuka Gorgodze, Jocelino Suta and Axel Muller all crossing.
A wilting Grenoble side conceded two penalty tries but stuck to their task with a couple of tries for themselves through fullback Gio Aplon and Eddy Sawailau, who had briefly pulled his team level at 5-5 early in the first period.
"It was a good match, a good start, we won with the bonus point, which is very valuable in this competition," said Ford.
"With our spirit and everything we did in training this week, it's good for the future. The forwards were very dominant in the scrum and ruck and maul - it would be stupid not to make the most of them."
Japanese international fullback Ayumu Goromaru, who has yet to make his debut for Toulon, took part in the pre-match warm-up but played no part in the game.
It was a fifth successive loss on the road for second-bottom Grenoble.
Montpellier edged La Rochelle 12-11 thanks to three penalties from Francois Steyn and a dramatic last-minute penalty from Ben Botica.
After a 50-metre penalty from Steyn had come back off the post in the 80th minute, visiting fullback Charles Bouldoire blundered when he failed to clear and Botica knocked over a resulting three-pointer.
La Rochelle scored the only try of the game after just four minutes when New Zealand-born French international tighthead prop Uini Atonio crossed with Brock James popping over two penalties.
Montpellier and Toulon have 27 points, the same as leaders Clermont, who can restore their lead with victory against Brive on Sunday.
Stade Francais beat Lyon 25-19 but the Paris giants managed just one try thanks to Fijian wing Waisea Nayacalevu in the fourth minute at Stade Jean Bouin.
South African flyhalf Morné Steyn kicked four penalties with Jules Plisson popping over two late penalties.
Toulouse earned their first away win of the season in a vital 24-20 success at Pau.
Tries from Julien Marchand and Joe Tekori cancelled out efforts from Daniel Ramsay and Watisoni Votu for the hosts as Jean-Marc Doussain kicked 14 points to 10 from Pau's Tom Taylor to make the difference.
Pau 20 Toulouse 24
Montpellier 12 La Rochelle 11
Stade Francais 25 Lyon 19
Toulon 42 Grenoble 12