Victorious Toulon jeered
Victorious Toulon jeeredSHARE
European champions Toulon were jeered off the pitch despite extending their French Top 14 lead with a 15-9 win at home to Perpignan on Friday.
England legend Jonny Wilkinson kicked all the home side's points while Tom Ecochard knocked over three penalties for the Catalans.
But the result meant Perpignan picked up a losing bonus while Toulon came nowhere near reaping an attacking bonus and could lose top spot by the end of the weekend.
At the start of play they had four pursuers within a point and all four could overtake them with a bonus point victory on Saturday.
Despite his side being booed at the final whistle, manager Bernard Laporte was not disappointed.
"I'm satisfied by the attitude we showed but we didn't manage to finish off chances," he said.
"We should have scored five or six tries. It's like having 15 chances in football and not managing to put one in the net.
"We weren't good in the last 10 metres because we couldn't find the final pass."
But he added: "Right now there's nothing to worry about because from one weekend to the next things can change.
"We mustn't forget that this team is in a building phase with a lot of players who haven't been here very long."
The game itself was a dire affair, not helped by the number of first choice players on international duty.
Even so, with the likes of Wilkinson, Matt Giteau and Maxime Mermoz in the hosts' line-up, there was enough talent on the field to expect more from the European champions.
And yet, even when Perpignan were reduced to 13 men during the first half after David Marty's rush of blood to the head earnt a yellow card, followed quickly by Nicolas Durand sin-binned for a cynical infringement, Toulon managed only to add one penalty to their score, sending them in 9-3 ahead at the break.
Two more penalties gave them breathing space but despite a third yellow card for the Catalans, this time to Guillaume Vilaceca, it was they who scored next, before Ecochard added a bonus-point clinching third kick right at the death.
Unsurprisingly, Perpignan manager Marc Delpoux was the happier with the result.
"Quite apart from how it was achieved, this is an amazing result for us," he said.
"It's an achievement and gives us a lot of happiness given how the youngsters acquitted themselves.
"They didn't want to crack and they were the leaders."
Clermont will look to take over top spot when they host erratic Racing-Metro at the Marcel Michelin stadium on Saturday although free-scoring Toulouse will also expect to take maximum points against newly-promoted Oyonnax.