Toulon cruise as Toulouse struggle
PARIS (AFP) –
Toulon romped to a bonus point victory at home to Biarritz on Saturday to consolidate their hold on the Top 14 leadership.
For the second time in three home games they crossed the 50-point barrier as they raced in six tries in a 50-15 success against the Basques.
Tries from Rudolffe Wulf and Sebastien Bruno in the final seven minutes ensured Toulon took the offensive bonus point to increase their lead at the top of the table to seven points, ahead of second-placed Clermont’s meeting with Castres on Saturday night.
In an entertaining first period South African lock Bakkies Botha and Australian centre Matt Giteau got on the scoresheet as former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson scored 10-points with the boot.
Alexis Palisson scored a try and a drop goal while English lock Nick Kennedy also got on the scoresheet as compatriot Wilkinson finished with a personal haul of 17 points.
It was much harder going for reigning champions Toulouse who, shorn of a host of international stars, limped to a 33-32 win over lowly Bordeaux-Begles.
Toulouse were even outscored four tries to two and had a Lionel Beauxis penalty 12 minutes from time to thank for their success.
Beauxis landed six penalties and a conversion while New Zealander Luke McAlister added another penalty. Veteran hooker William Servat and winger Yves Donguy touched down for the hosts.
Australian Blair Connor, South Africa’s Heini Adams, hooker Laurent Delboulbes and Matthew Clarkin of New Zealand went over for the visitors, who remain third from bottom but did at least garner a losing bonus.
Perpignan held off a late Grenoble rally to squeeze out a 20-18 victory and draw level on points with Montpellier in the race for the sixth and final play-off spot.
On Friday night Racing Metro recorded an eighth straight victory with a crucial 17-15 success at Montpellier that took them level on points with fourth-placed Castres.