Toulon undone at home by Stade

Date published: September 13 2014

Toulon were stunned at Mayol by Stade Français 28-24, losing on home soil for the first time since January.

Toulon were stunned at Mayol by Stade Français 28-24, losing on home soil for the first time since January.

The reigning Top 14 and European champions paid the price for poor goal-kicking in the second half, and an underperforming scrum, but it was a fully-deserved result for Stade who showed a lot of ambition in their game.

Stade went over twice in the first half, through Alexandre Flanquart and Julien Arias, but Toulon came back after the break with tries from Xavier Chiocci and Drew Mitchell.

But Jules Plisson kept the scoreboard ticking over for Stade, including a late drop goal, and they were well worth their win.

Stade made a promising start with an early penalty from Julien Dupuy when the Toulon scrum was penalised.

They could have extended that lead when Dupuy had a go from 55 metres out, but while he had the distance, his effort was just wide.

It was the same problem for Delon Armitage a couple of minutes later as he completely messed up his kick from halfway.

From closer range Frederic Michalak was more accurate, slotting a couple of penalties in quick succession for the home side.

His third effort drifted wide midway through the half and Stade were back in front on 26 minutes after a great try.

Pascal Papé scooped up a loose ball before feeding the onrushing Plisson. Quick hands from the fly-half and centre Jonathan Danty put Waisale Nayacalevu into space.

The Fijian centre was a little selfish trying to go on his own when he had Jeremy Sinzelle outside him, and the covering defence hauled him down just short of the line.

Stade were able to recycle the ball quickly though, and Flanquart, making his first start of the season, had the power to shrug off Mitchell and crash over.

Toulon came back, and earned a penalty when Remi Bonfils came in from the side. Michalak made no mistake from halfway to put the home side back in front.

The home side were then dealt a big blow when second row Romain Taofifenua was forced off with what looked like a serious knee injury after a collision in midfield.

Stade were looking good though, and they had their second try with five minutes remaining in the half when Danty took advantage of some confusion in the Toulon defence.

Plisson's attempted drop goal was charged down by Carl Hayman, and with the Toulon defence expecting the referee to come back for a Stade advantage, Danty collected the ball, stepped past Steffon Armitage and sprinted into the Toulon 22.

There was still one man to beat, but with Julien Arias outside, he simply had to feed his winger, who dived over. Dupuy was off-target again with the conversion.

Toulon had the final word in the half though, benefiting from a lineout which should have been a Stade throw to attack in the visiting 22.

Maxime Mermoz was hauled down by Bonfils, but the hooker undid his good work by knocking the ball out of Michael Claassens hands, earning a yellow card, and giving Michalak an easy three points to make it 13-12 at half-time.

The home side started the second half with an extra man and a spring in their step, and it took just three minutes for them to score their first try. Jean-Charles Orioli got them going forward with a huge break through the middle.

The try looked inevitable when Toulon had an overlap on the right, but Stade were initially able to contain them. However when the ball came back left, Chiocci simply had to fall over the line. Michalak's conversion made in 19-13 to Toulon.

Stade's scrum had the upper hand though, and they earned a penalty in the Toulon 22 which allowed Plisson to cut the deficit back to three points after taking over the kicking duties from Dupuy.

Toulon then lost a second player to injury when Michalak was forced off with a shoulder problem, he was replaced by James O'Connor.

The visitors were back up to a full complement, and used their powerful scrum to earn another penalty in the Toulon 22 and Plisson again was on target to level the scores at 19-19.

O'Connor had the chance to put Toulon back in front but his effort drifted wide, and it was the same result for Delon Armitage, who was off-target for the second time in as many kicks after Mathieu Bastareaud had earned a penalty with a good contest at a ruck.

A stupid penalty given away by Sergio Parisse, gave Toulon another shot at goal, the third in quick succession. But O'Connor was again wide with his effort.

The kicking problems were catching, and it was Plisson's turn to miss next for Stade, from long-range.

Toulon then tried a novel approach to solve their scrum problems, bringing on Levan Chilachava and pushing Hayman into the second row and it seemed to work when they earned a penalty from the very next scrum.

However Eric Escande, who had taken on the kicking duties, couldn't do any better from the left and the scores were still level with 15 minutes remaining.

Finally someone found their range, and it was Plisson who gave Stade the lead again. The fly-half made no mistake from 40 metres out when Maxime Mermoz tackled Nayacalevu without the ball.

And he was on target again two minutes later, slotting a tricky penalty from just inside the Toulon half on the left, giving Stade a 25-19 lead.

Toulon got their hands back on the ball and set up camp deep in Stade territory.

From a five-metre scrum they went right with Escande serving Mitchell to score in the corner.

Stade also lost winger Krisnan Inu to a yellow card for a tip tackle on Escande in the build-up, although replays seemed to indicate it was a harsh call.

Escande's conversion from the touchline drifted just wide and Stade were still a point up.

Stade got back into Toulon territory where O'Connor knocked on, and they extended the lead back to three points with a nerveless drop goal from Plisson.

There was still time for Toulon to come back, and they got back into Stade territory, but the visitors recovered the ball, and Delon Armitage then came in from the side in desperation, allowing Stade to kick it out to secure a famous win.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: Chiocci, Mitchell
Conversion: Michalak
Penalties: Michalak 4

For Stade Français:
Tries: Flanquart, Arias
Penalties: Dupuy, Plisson 4
Drop Goal: Plisson
Yellow Cards: Bonfils, Inu

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 David Smith, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Juan Smith, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Konstantin Mikautadze, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Jean-Charles Orioli, 1 Xavier Chiocci
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Virgile Bruni, 19 Stephane Munoz, 20 Rudi Wulf, 21 James O'Connor, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Levan Chilachava

Stade Français: 15 Djibril Camara, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Waisale Nayacalevu, 12 Jonathan