Toulon miss out on top spot

Date published: January 23 2016

Toulon won 19-14 against Bath at the Recreation Ground to qualify for the knockout stages, but they missed out on top spot in Pool 5.

Tries from Steffon Armitage and Bryan Habana sealed the victory, as the French side punished Bath for a number of missed opportunities and poor decisions.

George Ford failed to take the chance to put Bath in to the lead after just three minutes, which was punished by Toulon's makeshift kick taker James O'Connor who slotted his first attempt two minutes later.

O'Connor then scored his second penalty of the game, before George Ford opened his account after Armitage slapped the ball out of the hands of Chris Cook and was lucky not to be shown yellow.

With the score at 6-3 to Toulon, Armitage scored the first try of the game as he found space on the left wing, easing George Ford aside with ease before sliding over the whitewash. O'Connor failed to add the extras.

Ford added another three points after Ma'a Nonu was penalised for not rolling away, before O'Connor failed to convert twice before the break, taking the sides in at half-time with the score at 6-11.

Bath started the second half with renewed faith, and Anthony Watson found himself touching down after fantastic attacking work and a great inside pass for Kyle Eastmond was not adjudged to be forward by the TMO. Ford's conversion was dragged wide, and so the scores laid level at 11 points apiece.

Just minutes later Ford made up for his missed kicked, as he converted a penalty with ease to take the home side in to the lead.

With 58 minutes on the clock, Dave Denton picked up a loose ball but in trying to find Semesa Rokoduguni on the right wing, he could only find South African winger Habana to stride home unchallenged. O'Connor failed to convert.

Lying just two points behind, Ford had the chance to take Bath in to the lead but he misjudged the extremely windy conditions, which dragged the kick wide.

O'Connor slotted his final attempt of the game, taking Toulon in to a five point lead which sealed the victory for the French side.

Following the win, Toulon are through to the quarter finals of the European Champions Cup as one of the best three runners up, to be in with a shot of defending their title.

For Bath:
Try: Watson
Pens: Ford 3

For Toulon:
Tries: S Armitage, Habana
Pens: O'Connor 3

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 George Ford (c), 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 David Denton, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 David Wilson, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Matt Garvey, 21 Alafoti Faosiliva, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Ollie Devoto

Toulon: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Maxime Mermoz, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Juan Smith, 5 Samu Manoa, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Florian Fresia
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Manasa Saulo, 19 Mamuka Gorgodze, 20 Romain Taofifenua, 21 Mathieu Bastareaud, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Thibault Lassale

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Kieran Barry (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)