Masoe comes back to haunt Toulon

Date published: August 22 2015

Chris Masoe's converted try proved to be the difference as the Racing 92 flanker helped defeat his old side Toulon 27-22 on Friday at the Stade Félix Mayol.

Masoe scored in the 66th minute as Racing captain Maxime Machenaud won the battle off the tee opposite new Toulon signing Jonathan Pélissié.

Racing gave debuts to Joe Rokocoko and Ross Filipo but the main recruit was Masoe, who returned to Toulon just months after lifting his third European Cup with his old side and came back to haunt them when he crashed over from a driving maul.

Toulon were missing a total of 19 first-team players due to their Rugby World Cup commitments, which meant a start for the young Australian back UJ Seuteni at fly-half.

The 21-year-old stepped in with Matt Giteau, Frédéric Michalak and Juan Martín Hernández all away, combining with new signing Pélissié at half-back.

Pélissié scored two penalties in a low-key opening 20 minutes with both sides getting up to speed, as Maxime Machenaud notched up a penalty of his own in between.

Antoine Claassen's yellow card handed Toulon a chance to extend the lead and Pélissié stepped up, first with a penalty before scoring the game's first try.

New captain Juan Smith broke through the Racing defence before feeding Pélissié on his inside who stepped past the last man to score by the posts before converting.

Pélissié and Machenaud traded penalties but it was Racing who grabbed the last score of the half through a try from Henry Chavancy.

Benefitting from a moment of brilliance by his centre partner Casey Laulala, Chavancy was on hand to take the final pass and score to make it 16-11 to the hosts at the interval.

Racing's powerful scrum generated three more points for Machenaud after half-time and the captain put his side ahead from 40 metres out not long after, making it 16-17.

A pointless elbow from Francois van der Merwe saw the South African yellow carded to put Racing back down to 14 men and Pélissié made the most of the opportunity by striking his fourth penalty.

Masoe though was the man to hit back – crashing over off the back of a rolling maul with Machenaud converting to make it 19-24, after Toulon had lost Mitch Inman to the sin-bin for killing the ball at the breakdown.

Three more points from Machenaud gave Racing a crucial margin of more than a converted try going into the final few minutes as Pélissié produced a costly miss, his third of the night, to keep Toulon out of losing bonus point territory.

He was successful however with his next effort with one minute to go but Toulon had no time though to mount a complete comeback, having to settle for one point.

Racing meanwhile happily celebrated a great start to the season, having won away at one of the league's toughest grounds.

The scorers:

For Toulon:

Tries: Pélissié

Cons: Pélissié

Pens: Pélissié 4, Du Plessis

Yellow Card: Inman

For Racing:

Tries: Chavancy, Masoe

Cons: Machenaud

Pens: Machenaud 5

Yellow Cards: Claassen, Van der Merwe

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Sireli Bobo, 10 UJ Seuteni, 9 Jonathan Pélissié, 8 Charles Ollivon, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Juan Smith (c), 5 Romain Taofifénua, 4 Thibualt Lassalle, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Jean-Charles Orioli, 1 Alexandre Menini 
Replacements: 16 Bastien Soury, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Jocelino Suta, 19 Gerhard Vosloo, 20 Théo Bélan, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Anthony Méric, 23 Salesi Ma’afu

Racing 92: 15 Sean Robinson, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Maxime Machenaud (c), 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Davit Khinchagishvili
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Juandre Kruger, 19 Luc Barba, 20 Xavier Chauveau, 21 Etienne Dussartre, 22 Benjamin Dambielle, 23 Cedate Gomes Sa

Referee: Pascal Gauzère
Assistant Referees: Adrien Descottes, Bruno Gabaldon
TMO: Gilles Cogne