Planet Rugby

Habana scores as Toulon go top

12th April 2014 15:34

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matthew clarkin offloads bordeaux begles v toulon

Offloading: Matthew Clarkin

Bryan Habana's first Toulon try helped the visitors to a 22-20 victory over plucky Bordeaux-Bègles to go top of the Top 14.

The Springbok flyer dotted down with fifteen minutes to go after international teammate Juan Smith found him in space, before a Matt Giteau penalty ensured Bernard Laporte's men claimed the four points.

This was far from an easy game for the illustrious league leaders, however, as Bordeaux-Bègles led right up until the Australian's 71st minute three-pointer.

It was hooker Wayne Avei who opened the scoring, crashing over the line after fast-paced attack from the hosts left Toulon scrambling. Pierre Bernard, who enjoyed an impressive outing, converted for an early 7-0 lead.

The hosts continued to press, and were rewarded with as Habana illegally interfered with a ruck metres from his own line, and was swiftly sent to the sin-bin; Bernard kicked the penalty for a ten-point advantage.

And Bordeaux-Bègles weren't done there. In between a pair of Frederic Michalak penalties, centre Félix Le Bourhis scored his side's second try of the afternoon after a lovely break and offload from the fly-half. Bernard was on target once again from the tee, and suddenly the home team led by 17-6.

Toulon came out firing after the break, but Bordeaux-Bègles held firm, Bernard and Michalak trading penalties before the latter notched his fourth to cut the gap to eight points after a scrum infringement.

That was how it stayed until Habana's intervention on 65 minutes, Michalak adding the extras before being replaced by Giteau.

The win belonged to the pack, however, who smashed the home eight up front to win the vital penalty. The Wallaby veteran did not flinch, and the Toulon forwards were happy to keep possession, run down the clock, and ensure they top the table pending results later today.

The scorers:

For Bordeaux-Bègles:
Tries: Avei, Le Bourhis
Cons: Bernard 2
Pens: Bernard 2

For Toulon:
Try: Habana
Con: Michalak
Pens: Michalak 4, Giteau
Yellow card: Habana (professional foul)

Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Darly Domvo, 14 Metuisela Talebula, 13 Félix Le Bourhis, 12 Julien Rey, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Heini Adams, 8 Matthew Clarkin (c), 7 Louis-Benoit Madaule, 6 Hugh Chalmers, 5 Aliki Fakate, 4 Jandré Marais, 3 Benjami Sa, 2 Wayne Avei, 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Clément Maynadier, 17 Laurent De;boulbes, 18 Adam Jaulhac, 19 Matthew Graham, 20 Manu Saubusse, 21 Thibault Lacroix, 22 Nicolas Sanchèz, 23 Patrick Toetu.

Toulon: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Rudi Wulf, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Virgile Bruni, 6 Juan Smith, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Jean-Charles Orioli, 1 Alex Menini
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Noirot, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Konstantin Mikautadze, 19 Steffon Armitage, 20 Matt Giteau, 21 Delon Armitage, 22 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 23 Levan Chilachava.

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