Eight-try Toulon thrash Agen

Date published: December 5 2015

Ma'a Nonu's career with Toulon got off to a winning start as the hosts scored eight tries in a 53-23 win over Agen at the Stade Felix Mayol.

Johann Sadie's second-half try made the contest interesting for a moment as Agen hauled themselves within seven points, but the European champions responded with a flurry of tries to put the result beyond any doubt.

Agen fly-half Burton Francis opened the scoring with a penalty in the sixth minute, countered by Toulon scrum-half Eric Escande – the only non-international in Toulon's superstar backline.

It was Toulon's pack however that rose to the challenge and powered over through lock Romain Taofifenua for the game's first try, after pressure close to Agen's line. 

Their maul couldn't be stopped seven minutes later as Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe came up with the ball after a muscular drive, before he departed to be replaced by Steffon Armitage.

Francis added a third penalty to make it 17-9, with the score staying the same at half-time after Toulon were denied another possible score by the TMO.

Toulon's maul struck again after the break when Armitage touched down but a length-of-the-field score from Agen brought the contest into life.

Mathieu Lamoulie combined with Johann Sadie for Agen to score from 80 metres out, finished by the South African to make it 22-16.

Nonu's tackle-breaking carry came shortly before Toulon's bonus point try, from Delon Armitage, and then nearly had another from the maul by Xavier Chiocci before it was wiped off again by the TMO.

Bryan Habana, coming off the bench, followed Drew Mitchell over the Agen line for more tries either side of a yellow card for Agen's Georges Tilsley.

A second Mitchell score and a penalty try from the maul in the end wrapped up a comfortable victory for Toulon, with Lamoulie grabbing a late consolation for Agen.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: Taofifeuna, Lobbe, S Armitage, D Armitage, Mitchell 2, Habana, Penalty Try
Cons: Escande 5
Pen: Escande

For Agen:
Tries: Sadie, Lamoulie
Cons: Francis 2
Pens: Francis 3
Yellow Card: Tilsley

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 6 Mamuka Gorgodze, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Levin Chilachava, 2 Anthony Etrillard, 1 Florian Fresia
Replacements: 16 Guihelm Guirado, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Konstantin Mikautadze, 19 Steffon Armitage, 20 Quade Cooper, 21 Bryan Habana, 22 Anthony Meric, 23 Matt Stevens

Agen: 15 Mathieu Lamoulie, 14 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Julien Heriteau, 11 Georges Tilsley, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Alexi Balès, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Antoine Erbani, 6 Remy Vaquin, 5 William Demotte, 4 Marco Kotze, 3 Dave Ryan, 2 Mike Tadjer, 1 Arsene Nnomo
Replacements: 16 Djalil Narjissi, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Api Ratuniyarawa, 19 Sione Tau, 20 Apisai Naikatini, 21 Clement Darbo, 22 Julien Fouyssac, 23 Ruaan du Preez

Referee: Laurent Cardona