Toulon march on against Perpignan
December 30, 2012
Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson is felled by the Perpignan defence during their clash at the Stade Felix Mayol © Getty Images
Toulon cemented their place at the summit of the Top 14 table with a thumping 46-13 victory over Perpignan at the Stade Felix Mayol on Sunday.
Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson put the hosts on course for their 12th win of the campaign with five first half penalties and would end the game with a 24-point haul. Winger Joffrey Michel had given Perpignan an early with a third minute try but they were soon playing catch-up and were eventually swept aside by a four-try burst in the second half that saw Toulon speedster David Smith cross for two tries in four minutes and replacement Pierrick Gunther add a further two scores in the last ten minutes.
Second-placed Clermont Auvergne thrashed Bayonne 48-3 at the Stade Marcel Michelin to extend their unbeaten home run to 52 matches and keep the pressure on Toulon at the top of the table. France international centre Wesley Fofana touched down twice for the host in the first half before the flood gates opened in the second period. Napolioni Nalaga scored in the 49th minute before Aurelien Rougerie also got his name to score sheet. Jean-Marcellin Buttin escaped on the right to score in the 67th minute which was followed three minutes later by Kiwi Benson Stanley striding over as the hosts overwhelmed their opponents.
Toulouse returned to winning ways with a narrow 18-16 victory over fellow high-flyers Castres. A try from winger Marc Andreu helped propel Castres into a 10-9 half-time lead but the boot of fly-half Lionel Beauxis saw the game turn in the defending champions favour in a second half that also saw yellow cards for Castres fullback Brice Dullin and Toulouse winger Vincent Clerc.
Montpellier also bounced back from defeat last time out with a 29-point haul from winger Martin Buston Moyano propelling them to a 54-16 victory over Stade Francais at the Stade Yves du Manoir. Moyano grabbed one of his side's six tries with centre Thomas Combezou, winger Timoci Nagusa, fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc, scrum-half Julien Tomas and replacement Kelian Galletier also touching down.
Racing Metro also celebrated a heavy victory after thumping Agen 40-6 to move away from the relegation zone. Racing built up an 18-6 lead by half-time thanks to a penalty try and penalties from Maxime Machenaud. Machenaud maintained his accuracy with the boot with two further penalties early in the second half before Camille Gerondeau and Juan Imhoff crossed for tries, which were converted by Machenaud and Jonathan Wisniewiski. It was Racing's first win in seven while it was Agen's seventh straight defeat.
Elsewhere, Biarritz survived a nervous finale to beat Mont-de-Marson 19-18. Biarritz led 19-12 with ten minutes remaining before two penalties from Jean-Baptiste Claverie closed the gap to a single point. Mont-de-Marson put the pressure on their rivals but Biarritz held on to secure a vital victory.
Grenoble followed up their shock victory over Toulouse last weekend with a 19-9 triumph over Bordeaux-Begles. Valentin Courrent was again accurate off the tee for Grenoble and Gegenbacher Fabien crossed for their only try while Camille Lopez slotted three penalties for Bordeaux.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
It was another bumper year of rugby action in 2014; join us as we take a look back at some of the season's top statistics
Salary caps, Saints, sinners and scrums - Monday Maul looks back at the key talking points from an eventful weekend
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14