Toulon ease past Benetton
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Toulon set up a mouth-watering Pool Five finale against Scarlets as they picked up what could be a crucial bonus point against Benetton.
Knowing the potential importance of a bonus point, the Felix Mayol crowd were anxious at half-time after Toulon had only built a 10-0 lead courtesy of a try, conversion and penalty by flyhalf Anthony Belleau.
However, once Fijian powerhouse Josua Tuisova had rampaged past Edoardo Gori and Luca Sperandio to score just after the resumption, Benetton's stout resistance was broken.
Captain Mathieu Bastareaud led a driving maul which saw him bundle over for Toulon's third. The bonus-clinching fourth arrived when Semi Radrada's lovely floated pass enabled Tuisova to thunder through for his second.
Hugo Bonneval added a fifth, stretching over after Bastareaud managed a skilful offload despite being sandwiched between two Italian tacklers.
The qualification scenario for next weekend is that the winner of Scarlets v Toulon goes through as Pool winners.
If Toulon are defeated in that game but get a losing bonus point and Bath earn five points against Benetton, they will finish level on 18 points. Obviously, if Bath only earn four points in Italy and Toulon lose in west Wales with no bonus point, they will be level on 17. In both those scenarios, Toulon will finish second as they have the better head-to-head record.
Tries: Belleau, Tuisova 2, Bastareaud, Bonneval
Cons: Belleau 3, Trinh-Duc
For Benetton: None
Toulon: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Semi Radradra, 11 Chris Ashton, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Raphael Lakafia, 6 Facundo Isa, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Florian Fresia.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 20 Francois Trinh-Duc, 21 JP Pietersen, 22 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 23 Jocelino Suta.
Benetton: 15 Luca Sperandio, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Nacho Brex, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Seb Negri Da Oleggio, 6 Federico Ruzza, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Ira Herbst, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Alberto de Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Tomas Baravalle, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Alessandro Zanni, 20 Marco Lazzaroni, 21 Marco Barbini, 22 Giorgio Bronzini, 23 Tommy Allan.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Andrew Jackson (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)