Toulon return to winning ways
February 16, 2013
Jonny Wilkinson scored over half his teams' points with 26 points from his boot © Getty Images
Top 14 league leaders Toulon returned to their best form with five tries in a 51-6 win at home to Montpellier.
Jonny Wilkinson contributed 26 points with the boot, while there were tries for Joe Van Niekerk, Nick Kennedy, fullback Benjamin Lapeyre, Matt Giteau and Ivan Roux.
Wilkinson had already scored two penalties when a break by Alexis Pallison set up good field position, from inside the 22 the ball was moved left and Van Niekerk took a simple pass from No.8 Chris Masoe to run in unopposed. Kennedy drove over for the second after Giteau had been brought down close to the line just before half-time, Nicolas Durand then put Lapeyre over before Giteau used his pace to run in for the fourth. Roux added the fifth three minutes from time.
Clermont Auvergne were another side to rediscover their ruthless streak when they ran riot against strugglers Mont-de-Marsan in a 56-3 win.
Despite losing captain Aurelien Rougerie to the sin bin just before half-time they had more than enough quality at their disposal. Gerhard Vosloo and Raphael Chaume started the try-scoring in the first half, but Les Jaunards had to wait until the second half before the floodgates opened.
Jamie Cudmore drove over soon after the break, Napolioni Nalaga got on the end of flowing move to score the fourth. Lee Byrne and Loic Jacquet added a fifth and sixth before scrum-half Kevin Senio popped up on Aurelien Rougerie's shoulder to score a seventh eight minutes from full-time.
Racing Metro maintained their strong recent form when they got the better of Bayonne in a tense 15-10 win.
Former All Blacks' wing Joe Rokocoko scored the only try of the match, for Bayonne, but continued to show that he could be the answer to France's struggles at fly-half with an assured kicking display that won the Parisians the match with five penalties.
Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips came off the bench in the 51st minute, but was unable to find his way through dogged Racing defending around the fringes.
Racing's Parisian rivals Stade Francais managed to find their way to the try-line on three occasions, but grabbed them all before half-time in a 30-14 win over Bordeaux-Begles.
Italy captain Sergio Parisse crossed after only four minutes following a driving maul, hooker Aled de Malmanche dived over in the corner for the second and prop David Attoub made it a good half's work for the pack when the television match official ruled that he had touched the ball down.
Centre Julien Rey pulled a try back for Bordeaux, but Julien Dupuy's kicking meant that Stade were always in control.
Grenoble moved into the top six with a 27-13 win over Agen that keeps them in the bottom two. Saimoni Vaka scored a try for Agen in the first half, but Rudi Coetzee pulled one back in the second and Valentin Courrent made the difference by scoring six penalties.
On Friday Perpignan upset high-flying Toulouse with a narrow 19-8 victory in their Top 14 clash at the Stade Ernest Wallon.
Six penalties from Luke McAlister looked to have put the hosts on course for victory but a late try from replacement Gavin Hume and the conversion from Wales' James Hook, who had slotted four earlier penalties, edged Perpignan into the lead. McAlister had one final chance to win the game for the home side but his penalty failed to hit the target.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic
England must find a way to improve their game by tiny margins and they will get there, writes Phil Vickery