Rugby Union Toulouse slip to fifth defeat
PARIS (AFP) –
Two-time defending French champions Toulouse slipped to their fifth defeat in all competitions this season on Saturday as newboys Grenoble beat them 15-6 in their Top 14 clash.
Former Toulouse player Valentin Courrent kicked all his side’s points in what was their eighth win – their seventh at home – of a successful return to the elite league while also denying Toulouse a defensive bonus point.
Defeat – their second in a row after losing in Wales to Ospreys last weekend in the European Cup with all five this season coming away from home – leaves Toulouse five points adrift of leaders Toulon, who play second from bottom Agen later on Saturday.
The 2010 champions Clermont are second – two points ahead of Toulouse and three behind Toulon – having beaten Bordeaux-Begles 28-24 on Friday.
Toulouse were forced into recalling hooker William Servat for his fifth start this season despite his retirement at the end of last season after 18-year-old Christopher Toklofua was ruled out shortly before the kick-off because of a hip injury.
It was Grenoble, though, who opened the scoring through an eighth minute penalty from Courrent after Yannick Nyanga had not released Jonathan Best in the tackle – however Toulouse levelled two minutes later through 21-year-old scrum-half Sebastien Bezy.
Courrent, though, was having a storming start to the game and another piece of delightful positional kicking by the 30-year-old led to a penalty for the hosts, which he converted in the 16th minute.
Bezy, who had been preferred by Guy Noves to Australian star Luke Burgess for the starting spot, again levelled the game but Courrent – who made 33 appearances for Toulouse from 2006-08 – then kissed two in a row before edging the hosts three points ahead on the stroke of half-time.
He extended the lead to 12-6 shortly after the restart while Bezy missed one and with under 10 minutes remaining the hosts moved to 15-6 ahead with a superb long range penalty by Courrent.