Montpellier too good for Toulon

Date published: May 29 2016

Montpellier moved to within two points of Top 14 leaders Clermont after they saw off Toulon 36-21 at Altrad Stadium on Sunday.

Jake White's charges were deserved winners as tries from Mickael Ivaldi and Timoci Nagusa (2) were bolstered by the boots of Demetri Catrakilis and Frans Steyn, who kicked twelve and nine points respectively.

In reply Toulon, who looked off colour, mustered scores from Josua Tuisova and Xavier Chiocci, with Jonathan Pelissie landing eleven points, as they stay in fourth spot, trailing pace-setting Clermont by six points.

Montpellier enjoyed the perfect start to the game when hooker Ivaldi crossed on four minutes for a converted try, but Toulon hit back a minute later through wing Tuisova. Unfortunately for the visitors, their extras were missed so Montpol would remain in front at 7-5.

The hosts would extend that gap on 16 minutes as their fast start continued, wing Nagusa scoring a try before fly-half Catrakilis did the rest from the tee. The South African would slot a penalty goal two minutes later and suddenly Montpellier had raced 17-5 to the good.

Pelissie converted a scrum penalty that reduced the deficit to nine points, but on the whole it was a dismal half-hour for Toulon, summed up by Montpol centre Steyn sending over a penalty on 33 minutes which duly chalked off that effort from the visiting scrum-half.

Despite a lack of ball and territory, somehow Toulon went in just 20-15 down as a slalom run from prop Chiocci significantly cut the gap.

Incredibly they moved to within two points five minutes into the second-half when Pelissie sent over a penalty but once again Montpellier responded, and how. Nagusa was the man crossing for his second try of the game and with Catrakilis' conversion, they led 27-18.

Montpellier were now in full control and further built their lead as Steyn stepped up again for his second penalty of the game for 30-18.

And despite a Pelissie penalty going over the uprights soon after, a further penalty apiece from Catrakilis and Steyn wrapped up the four points for Montpellier, who are looking good for a domestic and European double.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Tries: Ivaldi, Nagusa 2
Con: Catrakilis 3
Pen: Catrakilis 2, Steyn 3

For Toulon:
Tries: Tuisova, Chiocci
Con: Pelissie
Pen: Pelissie 3

Montpellier: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Marvin O'Connor, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Wian Liebenberg, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Jacques Du Plessis, 3 Davit Kubriashvili, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Robins Tchale-Watchou, 19 Akapusi Qera, 20 Nic White, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Robert Ebersohn, 23 Jannie du Plessis

Toulon: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Jonathan Pelissie, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Mamuka Gorgodze, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Xavier Chiocci
Replacements: 16 Jean Charles Orioli, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Romain Taofifenua, 19 Steffon Armitage, 20 Theo Belan, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Manasa Saulo

Referee: Romain Poite
Assistant Referees: Pierre Brousset, Sébastien Hebert
TMO: Daniel Irazoqui