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Saint-Andre heaps praise on battling Toulon
ESPNscrum Staff
January 28, 2011
Toulon's Christian Loamanu is taken down, Toulon v La Rochelle, French Top 14, Stade Mayol, Toulon, France, January 27, 2011
Toulon's Christian Loamanu earns some hard yards against La Rochelle © Getty Images
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Toulon coach Philippe Saint-André has paid tribute to his players for a second half fightback which saw his side dispose of La Rochelle 12-9 at Mayol.

Toulon lost halfbacks Pierre Mignoni and Felipe Contepomi within the first half hour and were down 9-0 at the break. And further injuries in the second half saw Australian flanker George Smith drafted in to play scrum-half for a period.

"I congratulated my players on the second half," Saint-André told Var Matin. "Given the injuries at halfback and the lack of a goalkicker, they still scored two tries and could have scored a third."

Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel could not hide his disappointment after watching his side give up a 21-0 lead against Biarritz at Stade Aguilera before eventually losing 23-21 with a 78th minute Dimitri Yachvili penalty sealing the comeback win.

"The way the game finished left us really disappointed. By the 70th minute, we were still four points up," Brunel told l'Independent. "We committed too many individual errors in terms of game management towards the ned of the match."

Perpignan find themselves in tenth place and their prospects of earning a play-off place appear to be on the wane but the reported Italy-bound head coach added that they would not give in easily. "We will fight on," said Brunel. "Every time you lose points like that, it really weights on you. But we'll keep trying to win away from home."

Meanwhile, Toulouse pushed their lead in the Top 14 out to seven points after a 29-9 victory over playoff hopefuls Montpellier but backs coach Jean-Baptiste Elissalde warned that every point gained was important with a congested fixtures schedule lying in wait for the European champions.

"Do not jump to conclusions in terms of the rest of the championship," Elissalde told l'Equipe. "With the calendar in mind, we're going to have a very difficult April with three consecutive away trips in the Top 14 and a European quarter final at Anoeta. There's a lot of rugby to be played."

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