Planet Rugby

Smith and Armitage star for Toulon

27th August 2011 18:12

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David Smith celebrates his debut try for Toulon

Toulon's first: David Smith

RC Toulon opened up their Top 14 campaign with a 30-5 victory over Biarritz, with debutants David Smith and Steffon Armitage scoring tries.

Felix-Mayol got to know their new faces in quick time on Saturday and they no doubt took to them right away as the former Force wing and London Irish back-rower got over the whitewash during the first-half of what was a one-side encounter.

Many in France are minus players for at least the first six rounds because of the 2011 World Cup.

Toulon, whose pre-season was also thrown into confusion this week by the announcement that Philippe Saint-Andre would succeed Marc Lievremont as France coach from December 1, went into the game without seven of their regulars - including England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson - while the visitors were missing eight.

However, they started brightly in the sunshine with new centre Matthieu Bastareaud - omitted from France's World Cup squad - quick to make an impression.

It took 24 minutes for the home side to get their first try. As Julien Dumora's penalty hit the upright, Samoan back Smith gathered the rebound from under the noses of a sleepy Biarritz defence and crashed over for the score.

Three minutes later England flanker Armitage marked his first match since arriving from London Irish with the second try of the game.

Trailing 20-0, Biarritz got on the board two minutes before half-time when Dan Caprice was the first to Iain Balshaw's clever grubber, although television replays showed he did not actually get downward pressure on the ball as he attempted to touch down.

Dumora, however, slotted a penalty four minutes after the break and took his tally for the afternoon to 15 points when he converted flanker Oliver Missoup's 55th minute try.

For Toulon:
Tries: D Smith, Armitage, Missoup
Con: Dumora
Pen: Dumora

For Biarritz:
Try: Caprice

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