Lobbe calm after opening setback
August 16, 2010
Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe is calm following Toulon's opening loss © Getty Images
It wasn't supposed to be like this. Despite a summer of big signings and big talk, Bayonne's sensational 22-26 victory condemned Toulon to their first home defeat since March 2009 in the opening round of this season's Top 14. It was hardly the start to the season ambitious owner Mourad Boudjellal had in mind.
Toulon captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe insisted however that there was no cause for hitting the panic button just yet. "Now isn't the time for talking," the Argentina back-rower told Var Matin. "It's important that everyone has a good think about things, arrive back on Monday with loads of energy and are prepared to work hard and stay positive.
"We knew it was going to be a tough match and that's how it turned out. We had a lot of possession but we didn't play well. We weren't cohesive enough. We didn't play with intelligence or cohesion, nor did we stick to our game-plan."
Perpignan forwards coach Bernard Goutta applauded his side's fighting spirit after a hard fought 21-13 victory over champions Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Aime Giral, a game in which his side secured a measure of revenge after losing out to Les Jaunards in last season's Stade de France finale.
"I'm proud of the spirit they showed," Goutta told l'independent. "In spite of the last minute withdrawal of [fly-half Manny] Edmonds, we saw a team that played with great solidarity. The players played with great application and concentration. They gave a really good display."
Meanwhile, it was business as usual for Toulouse, who inflicted a 44-22 defeat on newly promoted Agen at the Stade Ernest Wallon. Former Bourgoin flanker Sylvain Nicolas excelled in his first appearance for the Heineken Cup champions in a game he termed "a baptism of fire."
He told La Dépêche du Midi: "I was happy to be a part of it. If there was one thing that was different from my two seasons at Bourgoin, it was the rhythm. It's something I'll have to get used to but it was a great experience for me. I think I managed to adapt pretty well."
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery