Armitage scores hat-trick but Grenoble win

Date published: November 1 2015

Grenoble moved up to sixth place in the Top 14 as they picked up a memorable 33-29 victory over Toulon at Stade des Alpes on Sunday.

Despite number eight Steffon Armitage crossing for his third try on 79 minutes, Grenoble did enough to see off their visitors in a thrilling game.

Grenoble were fully deserving of their early lead as they were 14-0 in front after fifteen minutes thanks to tries from full-back Gio Aplon and flanker Steven Setephano, both of which were successfully converted by fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski. A trailing Toulon looked rattled.

They showed their class with a response soon after, however, as from Juan Smith being denied a score due to an adjudged knock-on over the line, the deadly Armitage went over off the back of a driving maul to cut the gap in half with Jonathan Pelissie's extra two points.

Armitage was enjoying an excellent half as he starred with turnovers and carries but it was his back-row colleague Mamuka Gorgodze who was over next in an early contender for try of the season. A breakout from Delon Armitage led to Maxime Mermoz finding the Georgian, who crossed for an 80 metre score from start to finish. Pelissie could not convert the difficult conversion so it was 14-12 to the home team.

Grenoble managed to regain their composure and crucially landed three points from Wisniewski just before the interval to go in 17-12 ahead.

Toulon began the second-half much the stronger and took the lead for the first time in the match on 44 minutes when Armitage went over for the second time off the back of a driving maul. This time Pelissie did knock over the extra points and it was 17-19 to the visitors.

Their lead didn't last long though as ten points from a Wisniewski penalty and a converted penalty try, coming seconds after Toulon hooker Guilhem Guirado was sin-binned for deliberate offside, meant Grenoble were back in front at 27-19 before Pelissie cut that to 27-22.

Wisniewski would kick two further penalties – on 58 and 65 minutes – to give Grenoble vital breathing space at 33-19, which meant Armitage's third crossing of the game late on handed Toulon a losing bonus-point and not a dramatic win.

The scorers:

For Grenoble:
Tries: Aplon, Setephano, Penalty
Con: Wisniewski 3
Pen: Wisniewski 4

For Toulon:
Tries: S Armitage 3, Gordodgze
Con: Pelissie 2, Du Plessis
Pen: Pelissie

Grenoble: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Lucas Dupont, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Xavier Mignot, 10 Jonathan Wisniewski, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Mahamadou Diaby, 6 Steven Setephano, 5 Hendrik Roodt, 4 Peter Kimlin, 3 Dayna Edwards, 2 Arnaud Heguy, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Laurent Bouchet, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 James Percival, 19 Jonathan Best, 20 James Hart, 21 Nigel Hunt, 22 Maritino Nemani, 23 Rossouw De Klerk.

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Jonathan Pelissie, 8 Steffon Armitage, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Juan Smith, 5 Samu Manoa, 4 Thibault Lassalle, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Xavier Chiocci.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Kote Mikautadze, 19 Charles Ollivon, 20 Sireli Bobo, 21 Ulupano Seuteni, 22 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 23 Salesi Ma'afu.

Referee: Cyril Lafon