Toulon extend Top 14 lead as Clermont crash
- Published: 26/01/2013 at 05:45 AM
- Online news:
Toulon stretched their lead in the French Top 14 to seven points on Friday with a 15-9 win over rock-bottom Mont de Marsan while second-place Clermont slumped to a 26-19 loss at Perpignan.
Toulon's fullback Rudi Wulf (L) tries to pass the ball during their French Top 14 rugby union match against Mont-de-Marsan at the Mayol stadium on January 25, 2013 in Toulon, southern France. Toulon stretched their lead in the French Top 14 to seven points on Friday with a 15-9 win.
Toulouse replaced Clermont in second place with a 19-14 win over Biarritz.
Both Toulon and Clermont will be playing in the European Cup quarter-finals in April, but both struggled to shrug off those celebrations and looked laboured ahead of a 10-day break for the domestic competition.
Mont de Marsan, with just one win all season, led 9-3 after just 18 minutes thanks to three penalties from Benat Arrayet.
But former All Black flanker Chris Masoe and winger Alexis Palisson grabbed first half tries with Jonny Wilkinson kicking the other five points.
Mont de Marsan held their big-spending hosts pointless in the second half and earned a standing ovation at the final whistle after securing a losing bonus point.
"We will take two things out of this game -- the win despite a mediocre performance and the reaction of the fans who applauded both teams," said Toulon coach Bernard Laporte whose side had lost to Racing-Metro in their last Top 14 outing.
"We were a little flat and this part of the season is always very difficult to manage. The 10 days vacation coming up will do us good. I have told the players -- go where you want to and come back with enthusiasm."
Perpignan recorded a third win in their last four Top 14 outings with a 26-19 win over Clermont.
The victory was also sweet revenge for the 53-31 defeat they suffered to their rivals earlier in the season.
Clermont led 12-6 at the interval thanks to four Morgan Parra penalties with Welsh fly-half James Hook replying with two of his own.
But a try from lock forward Romain Taofifenua early in the second period set Perpignan on their way to victory with Hook adding three more penalties before David Mele kicked a last-minute drop goal to increase the lead.
Toulouse, surprisingly knocked out of the European Cup at the pool stage last weekend, saw off Biarritz to record a sixth win in their last seven Top 14 games.
Biarritz have not won at Toulouse in 12 years while the home side have not lost at their Ernest-Wallon ground since February 2010.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency