Toulon consolidated their position among the frontrunners on the table when they beat Bordeaux-Bègles 37-10 at Stade Félix Mayol on Sunday.
Although the home side held the upperhand from the outset, the complexion of the match changed in the 23rd minute when UBB flanker Luke Braid received a red card for trampling on Mamuka Gorgodze’s face.
Toulon led 13-3 at the time thanks to two Leigh Halfpenny penalty and a Bryan Habana try in 20th minute which Halfpenny also converted. The visitors’ points came via a Simon Hickey penalty in the 16th minute.
As expected, Braid’s absence put huge pressure on his team-mates and 10 minutes after his exit, the home side made full use of their superior numbers when Pierre Bernard went over for their second try. Halfpenny added the extras which meant Toulon held a comfortable 20-3 lead at the interval.
To their credit, UBB did not surrender and shortly after the restart, they were rewarded when Adam Ashley-Cooper crossed for a try which Hickey converted.
That fightback did not last long though as Toulon grew stronger as the game progressed. Liam Gill crossed for a try on the hour-mark and further five-pointers from James O’Connor and Halfpenny, inside the final 10 minutes, sealed a deserved victory.
Tries: Habana, Bernard, Gill, O’Connor, Halfpenny
Cons: Halfpenny 3
Pens: Halfpenny 2
Red Card: Braid
Toulon: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Jonathan Pelissie, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Juandre Kruger, 6 Liam Gill, 5 Mamuka Gorgodze, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Marcel Van der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Florian Fresia
Replacements: 16 Jean Charles Orioli, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Romain Taofifenua, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Jimmy Yobo, 21 James O’Connor, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Manasa Saulo
Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Jayden Spence, 12 Julien Rey, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Julien Audy, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Cyril Cazeaux, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Clement Maynadier, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Loann Goujon, 20 Yann Lesgourgues, 21 Lionel Beauxis, 22 Jean-Baptiste Dubie, 23 Jean-Baptiste Poux
Referee: Laurent Cardona