Wilkinson's boot keeps Toulon top
November 1, 2012
Jonny Wilkinson didn't disappoint the Toulon fans when he kicked eight penalties in the win over Stade Francais © Getty Images
Jonny Wilkinson landed eight penalties to keep Toulon first in France's Top 14 with a 24-19 win at home to Stade Francais.
The Parisians pushed the south coast side hard throughout the match and they scored the only try of the match. Fullback Hugo Bonneval raced the length of the pitch in the 72nd minute to put his side into the lead at 19-18, but Stade's indiscipline gave Wilkinson the chance to kick two more penalties for the win.
Clermont Auvergne remain five points behind Toulon after they made hard work of an 18-11 win away to Agen. Sitiveni Sivivatu, Jean-Marcellin Buttin and Napolioni Nalaga scored tries for Les Jaunards, while Mathieu Lamoulie scored a late consolation try for Agen. Clermont would have enjoyed a more comfortable afternoon if Brook James had landed any of the three conversions. He was given the kicking duties after Morgan Parra was rested for the match and the Australian's only successful kick was a first half penalty.
Reigning champions Toulouse had to bring veteran hooker William Servat out of retirement such was the injury crisis at the club, but after they hit their stride they ran away with a 32-13 bonus-point win at home to Racing Club Metro.
Racing second-row Francois van der Merwe gave the visitors the lead when he powered over from close range for the opening try after 19 minutes. However, Toulouse hit back two minutes later when after quick recycling Luke McAlister ran in their opening try. After wing Yoann Huget added a second before half-time, Gaël Fickou grabbed the third when he took Luke Burgess' pass and sprinted away from the Racing defence. Vincent Clerc secured the try-bonus point for Toulouse seven minutes from time. McAlister shrugged off Olly Barkley's attempted tackle and broke the line and then sent Clerc racing clear to dive over in the corner.
Montpellier maintained their strong early season form with a convincing 32-16 victory at home to Mont-de-Marsan. Fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc pulled the strings as Yohann Artru and Timoci Nagusa scored a brace of tries to secure a bonus point win. Mont-de-Marsan flanker Vassili Bost crossed for a try on the final whistle, but the loss leaves them 13 points adrift at the bottom of the table.
Wales scrum-half Mike Philips came off the bench to help Bayonne close out a 22-11 win at home to Bordeaux-Begles. By the time he came on all the scoring had been done with South African fullback Scott Spedding scoring Bayonne's try and Fijian wing Metuisela Talebulamaijaina replying for their Atlantic coast rivals.
Phillips' fellow Welsh internationals James Hook and Luke Charteris couldn't stop Perpignan from slipping to a 38-36 loss to Castres. Both sides scored three tries each and when Perpignan scrum-half David Mele dropped a goal soon after Hook had converted Adrien Plante's try the Catalans led 36-35 with less than 10 minutes remaining. However, when Perpignan were penalised for collapsing a scrum with a minute to go Rory Kockott held his nerve to kick his team to victory.
Grenoble moved into the top six with a 34-21 win at home to Biarritz. Scrum-half Valentin Courrent scored the Alpine side's only try of the match and while Takudzwa Ngwenya and Marcelo Bosch scored tries for the Basque side, it couldn't stop them slipping to their sixth loss in a row.
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