Toulon make history with Clermont win

Date published: November 29 2015

Toulon clinched a first ever win over Clermont at the Stade Marcel Michelin in emphatic fashion with a 35-9 victory on Saturday.

In need of a response after a heavy loss to Wasps in the Champions Cup, Saturday's impressive result has put the European champions right back on track.

As a result Clermont failed to extend their lead in first place in the Top 14, holding a one-point advantage over second-placed Racing 92, while Toulon close in, two points behind the leaders tied on 27 points with Toulouse and Brive.

Scrum-half Eric Escande finished with 17 points for the visitors as Toulon head back home with a try bonus point as well as a precious win in their luggage.

Morgan Parra opened the scoring for the hosts with a fifth-minute penalty as Toulon's pack felt the pressure early on in the scrum with multiple offences.

Toulon though struck with the game's first try when Mathieu Bastareaud released Delon Armitage with an inside ball as the full-back accelerated away, converted by Escande.

A long-range penalty from Armitage extended Toulon's advantage but Parra responded with three points of his own on 23 minutes.

James O'Connor was introduced after half an hour by Toulon for the injured Josua Tuisova before Escande combined brilliantly with Drew Mitchell to score Toulon's second try, the scrum-half's score confirmed by the TMO.

A missed conversion from the scrum-half and a penalty miss from Armitage meant that Toulon could have held more of an advantage than their 15-6 half-time lead.

Parra's third penalty cut the gap to less than seven only for Escande to instantly respond from 40 metres out, repeating the feat just three minutes later to put Toulon ahead 21-9.

Sustained pressure in Clermont's 22 saw les Jaunards put down to 14 men after Julien Bardy entered the maul from the side, leading to another driving maul which ended in referee Mathieu Raynal awarding Toulon a penalty try.

At 28-6 Toulon looked comfortable but they still had to battle through a final quarter during which they lost prop Matt Stevens to the bin.

Drew Mitchell however put the icing on the cake when he sprinted away on the 80-minute mark, running in from 60 metres after Toulon won turnover ball at the ruck and left Clermont stunned.

The scorers:

For Clermont:
Parra 3
Yellow Cards: Bardy

For Toulon:
Tries: D Armitage, Escande, Penalty Try, Mitchell
Cons: Escande 3
Pens: D Armitage, Escande 2
Yellow Card: Stevens

Clermont: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 David Strettle, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Albert Vulivuli, 11 Adrien Planté, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Camille Gerondeau, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Paul Jedrasiak, 19 Julien Bardy, 20 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 21 Nick Abendanon, 22 Noa Nakaitaci, 23 Clément Ric

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 6 Mamuka Gorgodze, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Anthony Etrillard, 1 Florian Fresia
Replacements: 16 Bastien Soury, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Romain Taofifenua, 19 Jocelino Suta, 20 Steffon Armitage, 21 James  O Connor, 22 Anthony Meric, 23 Matthew Stevens

Referee: Mathieu Raynal