Planet Rugby

Toulon back on Pool summit

14th December 2013 15:28

Share:

David Smith scoring for Toulon

Two tries: David Smith

Toulon returned to the top of Pool 2 in the Heineken Cup as they shook off a spirited Exeter Chiefs side 32-20 at Stade Félix Mayol on Saturday.

Despite claiming the try bonus-point win, Toulon were given a real test by the Chiefs, who will take home a lot of confidence from their showing.

Only in the closing stages would the French give themselves a comfortable lead but even then Exeter ended strongly as they crossed late on.

Toulon, missing Bakkies Botha, Andrew Sheridan and Craig Burden for this clash - Jonny Wilkinson was benched - opened the scoring in the eleventh minute when a lovely inside ball from Matt Giteau to Alexis Palisson saw possession swiftly moved to the left where wing David Smith strolled over.

Exeter though were proving more than a match for their big-spending opponents and in fact took the lead seven minutes later as Tom James' good work on the left touchline saw him bounce off Palisson before sending the ball inside to openside flanker Don Armand who ran in for a converted try.

That would be wing Palisson's last act too as he came off clutching his shoulder to be replaced by former England international Delon Armitage.

What was impressive from the Chiefs was their ability to spot weak links in defence as Jack Nowell and Tom Arscott were picking out Carl Hayman and Ali Williams and promptly scooting around them. Fortunately for the home side, no more damage was done.

Then came a controversial moment as TMO, Dermot Moloney, adjudged Matt Giteau's scoring pass to winger Smith as being fine to award. The replays showed, however, the Australian's hands went in the direction as the ball, forwards. Exeter's fans were amazed.

Giteau would make it 15-7 after the half-hour mark but Junior World Championship winner Slade would chalk that off for the spirited Chiefs, making it 15-10 going into half-time.

The third quarter of the contest was another 20 minutes of Toulon failing to demonstrate champion-like qualities as Exeter continued to hang in there, with the score 18-13 for a long period. Head coach Rob Baxter will no doubt have been impressed with his back-three.

However, the class in the hosts' squad would show in the end as replacement prop Xavier Chiocci barged over in the 64th minute before fellow substitute Wilkinson slipped over under the uprights for the bonus-point try that sent the home supporters delirious.

Exeter would have the last say though when their own replacement, Ben White, crossed after Arscott was denied one by good defensive work from Drew Mitchell over the try-line.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: D Smith 2, Chiocci, Wilkinson
Con: Giteau 3
Pen: Giteau 2

For Exeter:
Tries: Armand, White
Con: Slade, Sweeney
Pen: Slade 2

Toulon: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Alexis Palisson, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 David Smith, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Juan Smith, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Jean-Charles Orioli, 1 Florian Fresia.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Noirot, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Virgile Bruni, 20 Delon Armitage, 21 Jonny Wilkinson, 22 Frédéric Michalak, 23 Konstantin Mikautadze.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Tom James, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Don Armand, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Dean Mumm (capt), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Brett Sturgess, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Ben White, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Sam Hill.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson, Michael Black (both Ireland)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Pumas vs Western Province19:00
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39