Planet Rugby

Michalak inspires Toulon victory

29th March 2014 21:17

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david smith tackled toulon v toulouse

Hauled to ground: David Smith

Twenty-seven points from Fréderic Michalak secured a 32-28 victory for Toulon over Top 14 rivals Toulouse at Stade Vélodrome on Saturday.

The mercurial fly-half was in top form, scoring what proved to be the decisive try of the match, while slotting two conversions and six penalties.

His opposite number and fellow France international, Lionel Beauxis, also found his range from the tee, finishing with 20 points to his name.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring, scrum-half Jean-Marc Doussain darting over untouched after a smart offload from Florian Fritz. Beauxis converted before trading penalties with Michalak.

Trailing by seven, Toulon hit back in the latter stages of the first half, Maxime Mermoz crossing for a five-pointer. The pivot converted, and landed two penalties to Beauxis' one to give the hosts a 16-13 lead at the break.

The Toulouse fly-half opened the scoring in the second half with a well-taken drop-goal, before he and his opposite number twice again traded shots at goal.

Toulon attacked once more, and flanker Akapusi Qera saw yellow from Romain Poite after he infringed at the breakdown deep in his own 22. Michalak stepped up to bag three more points, before he struck the killer blow, converting his own try to hand the hosts a ten-point cushion.

A late brace of penalties from Beauxis, and some hefty pressure in the dying minutes from Toulouse made for a nervy finish, but Toulon held on to move up to second place in the Top 14 table.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: Mermoz, Michalak
Cons: Michalak 2
Pens: Michalak 6

For Toulouse:
Try: Doussain
Con: Beauxis
Pens: Beauxis 5
Drop: Beauxis
Yellow card: Qera

The teams:

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 David Smith, 10 Fréderic Michalak, 9 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Steffon Armitage, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Juan Smith, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Xavier Chiocci
Replacements: 16 Florian Fresia, 17 Virgile Bruni, 18 Konstantine Mikautadze, 19 Levan Chilachava, 20 Jean-Charles Orioli, 21 Bryan Habana, 22 Michael Claassens, 23 Matt Giteau

Toulouse: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Yann David, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Romain Millo-Chluski, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp
Replacements: 16 Schalk Ferreira, 17 Yacouba Camara, 18 Jaba Bregvadze, 19 Sébastien Bézy, 20 Gillian Galan, 21 Timoci Mantanavou, 22 Yohan Montes, 23 Patricio Albacete

Referee: Romain Poite

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