Toulon too strong for Scarlets

Date published: December 11 2016

Toulon stayed within touching distance of Pool 3 leaders Saracens as they overcame the Scarlets 31-20 at Stade Mayol on Sunday.

Tries from Mamuka Gorgodze, Leigh Halfpenny, Romain Taofifenua and Guilhem Guirado secured the five-point victory to take them clear in to second place.

Scarlets found replies through Ken Owens and John Barclay, but had little else to show for their efforts at the Stade Mayol.

The home side went ahead through Gorgodze after five minutes when Mathieu Basteraud powered his way through the Scarlets defence, before the Georgian burrowed his way over from close range allowing Halfpenny to convert.

Halfpenny then slotted his only penalty of the afternoon, followed by two scores from the boot of Rhys Patchell.

Toulon had their second just before the half hour mark and had Basteraud’s power to thank once again, as the Frenchman broke clear to find Halfpenny on the wing to carry over. The Welshman then added the conversion.

Another score for Mike Ford’s side saw them open up a 24-6 lead, as Jonathan Pelissie found Taofifenua who reached the whitewash at arms length. Halfpenny added the extras.

The visitors found a reply just before the half time interval, as hooker Owens powered across the line against the run of play. Patchell’s simple conversion saw him maintain his 100 per-cent kicking record.

The French side halted any chance of a Scarlets revival by securing a bonus point try on 51 minutes, as Guirado scored from the back of a driving maul, before Halfpenny added an excellent touchline conversion.

With Taofifenua in the sin-bin, Scarlets found a late consolation score through Barclay after DTH van der Merwe had powered his way to the line, allowing the Scotland international to reach over, and Patchell converted.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: Gorgodze, Halfpenny, Taofifenua, Guirado
Cons: Halfpenny 4
Pen: Halfpenny

For Scarlets:
Tries: Owens, Barclay
Cons: Patchell 2
Pens: Patchell 2

Toulon: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Jonathan Pelissie, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Charles Ollivon, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Marcel Van Der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Xavier Chiocci
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Laurent Delboulbès, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Juandre Kruger, 20 Maxime Mermoz, 21 Jimmy Yobo, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Duane Vermeulen

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Hadleigh Parkes, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Tom Price, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Wyn Jones
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Gareth Owen

Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce (England), Nigel Carrick (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)