Planet Rugby

Slick Toulon hammer Racing Metro

23rd August 2013 22:45

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David Smith

Nabbed a barce: David Smith

Toulon fired an early warning shot as they put five tries past Racing Metro in a 41-14 demolition at Stade Felix Mayol.

For all of Jacky Lorenzetti's investment, Racing were thoroughly outplayed by the European champions, aided by some controversial refereeing decisions, which in truth they did not need in order to dominate.

It was the home side who opened the scoring in the eighth minute when David Smith went over after Maxime Mermoz had been put into a gap by Jonny Wilkinson. The English number ten duly added the extras.

Racing fly-half Jonathan Sexton kept his side in touch through two penalties in the 12th and 27th minutes, but it was what happened in between the two three-pointers that perhaps had the greatest impact.

Masi Matadigo was denied what appeared to be a try by the television match official after it was ruled that the scoring pass from Adrien Plante was in fact forward, a point that will be much debated in days to come.

It was Toulon who kept the scoreboard ticking over though - despite having Virgile Bruni in the sin bin - through to penalties from Wilkinson, as they took a 13-6 lead into the break.

It was Bernard Laporte's men who were quickest out of the blocks in the second period, with Sébastien Tillous-Borde notching up Toulon's second try after Maxime Mermoz had broken through the Racing defence, beating three defenders before finding support.

With Wilkinson's conversion taking the lead out to 14 points, Racing were under pressure and Sexton looked to chip away at the lead with another penalty in the 51st minute before the game was put all but out of reach of the visitors.

A Jocelino Suta try was just what Toulon needed to keep Racing out of the contest but it was, unfortunately not without its controversy. First a 50-50 decision from the assistant referee saw play brought back into the Racing 22m after a kick from Descons was ruled to have gone out on the full as Chris Masoe attempted to catch the ball with one foot into touch. The former All Blacks' success in doing so was debatable.

From the resulting line-out, Wilkinson not for the first time used the inside ball to great effect as Bruni punched through the first line of defence. The ball was recycled to Suta who went over for the try but referee Poite first consulted with the TMO before awarding the try, with scoring pass appearing to be forward. It was, however, ruled to be a legitimate score.

Racing looked to hit back and perhaps for the first time Sexton got his back-line moving only for Smith to produce a great cover tackle on Planté as the winger skidded towards the whitewash after breaking through the line.

Indeed, while it was Racing who so desperately needed the points, it was Toulon who produced them.

Matt Giteau dotted down in the 60th minute after quick hands from Delon Armitage and Wilkinson had put Smith into space out wide before the Kiwi passed back inside for his team-mate to steam over.

To rub further salt into the Racing wounds, Smith grabbed his second four minutes later as he intercepted a flat pass from the replacement Fabrice Estebanez.

At 41-9 the final whistle could not come fast enough for the visitors but they were handed some help when Mathieu Bastareaud was yellow carded in the 74th minute for lying over the ball when Racing where on the attack.

The game took a nasty turn in the final minutes when Martin Castrogiovanni and Karim Ghezal were shown straight red cards for an off the ball incident. Further investigation is sure to follow, with Ghezal pointing to a mark near his eye as he walked off the field.

Virgile Lacombe grabbed a consolation score after the hooter but it was nothing more than that as Racing slipped to their first loss of the season, and a very heavy one at that.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: D Smith 2, Tillous-Borde, Suta, Giteau
Conversions: Wilkinson 5
Penalties: Wilkinson 2

For Racing Metro:
Tries: Lacombe
Penalties: Sexton 3

Toulon: 15 Armitage, 14 Martin, 13 Mermoz, 12 Giteau, 11 Smith, 10 Wilkinson, 9 Tillous-Borde, 8 Masoe, 7 Armitage, 6 Bruni, 5 Suta, 4 Botha, 3 Hayman, 2 Noirot, 1 Sheridan.

Racing Metro: 15 Lapeyre 14 Planté, 13 Chavancy, 12 Roberts, 11 Andreu, 10 Sexton, 9 Descons, 8 Matadigo, 7 Le Roux, 6 Lauret, 5 Van der Merwe, 4 Metz, 3 Mujati, 2 Szarzewski, 1 Tonga'huiha.

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