Victory for sluggish Toulon

Date published: October 21 2016

Toulon bounced back from last week's home defeat to Saracens as they edged Sale Sharks 15-5 on Friday.

It wasn't pretty from the former European champions but two first-half tries proved enough to beat their hosts.

The first major incident of the game came when Sale flanker Magnus Lund was shown yellow early on for a later tackle. Leigh Halfpenny slotted the subsequent penalty for Toulon.

Diego Dominguez's men scored their first try a few minutes later. The numerical advantage told when Charles Ollivon crashed over for his fifth try of the season.

There was time for Toulon to score their second try before Sale were restored to their full compliment. A lovely cross-field kick from Francois Trinh-Duc caused chaos in the Sale defence, the ball eventually found its way to Halfpenny to dot down in the corner.

Sale's fortunes looked to have turned when Toulon skipper Duane Vermeulen was sent to the sin-bin for a trip on Sam James.

The Sharks finally opened their account with a try from young winger Paolo Odogwu. A lovely move from the Sale backline isolated the Toulon defenders, leaving Odogwu with a clear run in to the line.

As the second-half progressed, it became clear that both sides were pushing to take control of the game.

Despite several penalties inside the Toulon 22, Sale failed to make any dent into the Toulon lead.

With neither team scoring a point in the second-half, Toulon leave the AJ Bell Stadium with four points, but without the key try bonus point that could prove crucial later in the group stages.

For Sale, their dreams of qualification are all but over. after two straight defeats. Steve Diamond's men put in a spirited performance, but came away from the game with nothing to show for it.

The scorers:

For Sale Sharks:
Try: Odogwu
Yellow Card: Lund (5 min – no-arm tackle)

For Toulon:
Tries: Ollivon, Halfpenny
Con: Halfpenny
Pen: Halfpenny
Yellow Card: Vermuelen (23 min – trip)

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Will Addison, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Paolo Odogwu, 10 Sam James, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 17 Halani Aulika, 18 Jonathan Mills, 19 David Seymour, 20 Tom Curry, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Dan Mugford, 23 Sam Bedlow

Toulon: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Charles Ollivon, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Mamuka Gorgodze, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Xavier Chiocci
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Laurent Delboulbès, 18 Marcel Van Der Merwe, 19 Samu Manoa, 20 Matt Carraro, 21 Pierre Bernard, 22 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 23 Jocelino Suta

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell (Wales), Chris Williams (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)