Toulon revel in ascent to top
April 19, 2010
Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson and Tana Umaga share a joke following their victory over Perpignan that took them top of the table © Getty Images
Beating the champions 33-23 in front of 57,000 to go to the summit of the Top 14 wasn't a dream - yet Toulon owner Mourad Boudjallel must have been pinching himself on Saturday evening after his side's victory over Perpignan.
"We have sent a strong signal to the rest of French rugby," the Toulon owner told Var Matin. "The success of the club is not due to short-lived finance but to its popular tradition. Tonight, we proved that Toulon is a big rugby town."
Toulouse's 15-13 loss to Bourgoin in Lyon means that they must now win away at Castres next weekend if they wish to claim a home quarter-final but that prospect didn't seem to worry a philosophical Guy Noves.
The veteran coach told La Depeche du Midi, "You can't win every match. This match didn't stop us from appearing in the play-offs. What's important is the possibility that we can still get to a European Cup final. We're in the quarter-finals of the championship and in the semi-finals of the European Cup. That's magic."
Meanwhile Clermont bounced back from their agonising exit of the Heineken Cup to record a hard fought win over Castres at Stade Marcel Michelin. France international Thomas Domingo admitted to Midi Olympique that some hair dryer treatment at half-time was the catalyst for the win.
"We got a nice blasting in the dressing room at half time alright," he said. "On the restart Morgan [Parra] provided the solutions in the axis and got the machine restarted. We were too relaxed in the first half. The H-Cup definitely left some traces."
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