Toulon continued their unbeaten start to the Top 14 season on Friday with a 32-25 victory on the road in Montpellier.
Toulon continued their unbeaten start to the Top 14 season on Friday with a 32-25 victory at Stade Yves du Manoir in Montpellier .
Toulon made it five wins in five outings – including four away from home – this season to maintain the championship lead.
Toulon were in complete control at the interval, leading 16-0 thanks to a 34th-minute try from flanker Pierrick Gunther, well-served by Kiwi winger David Smith, in the 34th minute with fly-half Frederic Michalak kicking 11 points.
But Montpellier rallied after the break when South African hooker Rassie van Vuuren scrambled over for back-to-back tries in the 49th and 55th minutes.
That cut the deficit to 22-12 before Toulon then stretched out to 32-15 thanks to a try from replacement back-row forward Joe van Niekerk in the 67th minute.
Michalak, getting a rare start in the absence of the resting Jonny Wilkinson, converted as he finished the match with 22 points.
The impressive Francois Trinh-Duc added Montpellier's third try with three minutes left.
More to follow…
Tries: van Vuuren 2, Trinh-Duc
Cons: Paillaugue, Escande
Pens: Trinh-Duc, Escande
Tries: Gunther, van Niekerk
Cons: Michalak 2
Pens: Michalak 6
Montpellier: 15 Benjamin Thiery, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Yohann Artru, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Hendrikus Hancke, 3 Vincent Pelo, 2 Erasmus Jansen van Vuuren, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Fabien Dorey, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Alikisio Fakate, 19 Alexandre Bias, 20 Eric Escande, 21 Pierre Berard, 22 Matthew Carraro, 23 Giorge Jgenti.
Toulon: 15 Alexis Palisson, 14 Vincent Martin, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 David Smith, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Pierrick Gunther, 5 Jocelino Suta, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Jean Charles Orioli, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Simon Shaw, 19 Nick Kennedy, 20 Maxime Mermoz, 21 Joe van Niekerk, 22 Benjamin Lapeyre, 23 Xavier Chiocci.