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Too easy for Toulon

Le 18 février 2013



After last weeks thrashing of Toulon by Bordeaux Begles (41-0) there was a possible backlash waiting to happen and Montpellier were the team who could possibly be the subject of that return to form by Toulon, they being the home side in this fascinating duel between Top of the table Toulon and Montpellier lying joint 4th with Castres.
The power of Toulon was produced from the off with ball in hand they were devastating against a very different Montpellier side who had decided to make many changes, some of the players coming into the team have been sidelines for several weeks, and some even longer. The familiar words of revolving the squad had been used several times this week, there was even a pleasant surprise of seeing No. 8 Alex Tulou coming on in the second half and playing centre.
Montpellier were given a Royal lesson in fast open  rugby with the ball hardly ever going to ground, the releasing in the tackle or seconds before was a master class and kept Toulon on the attack and Montpellier in reverse gear for most of the match.  This is the 4th encounter this season (2 H Cup and 2 TOP 14 games) Toulon coming out 3-1 winners, but just maybe that win in the H Cup by Montpellier at home was the most important , well it was for Montpellier as they secured their first ever ¼ final H Cup play-off place.
The game produced 5 tries all from Toulon, Van Niekerk, Kennedy, Lapeyre, Giteau, and finally the young 20yro. Roux making his debut at Mayol and following in the footsteps of his father a loyal 2nd row that played in the 80’s/90’s. Sir Jonnie added 26 pts from the boot; if he does not renew his contract with Toulon he will be sadly missed.
Apart from the tries and the fast open play by Toulon, one of the games highlights was a small blunder from the man in the middle, from a restart Audrin was shoulder charged by Bakies Botha without the ball he was catapulted into the Toulon defender Durand, who was in mid air awaiting the ball, of course he went down in Oscar fashion (which seems to be coming more evident in today’s modern game) laid on the ground in movie style pain and the ref  biscotted (yellow card) Audrin who did not know nothing about anything. Bakies as per nearly every game and with an expanding larger than life smile on his face looked down at the ref and his usual little complement of “well played Sir correct decision” was received with acknowledgement, the “Happy Assassin” strikes again, sometimes you wonder whether he is the brother of Richie McCaw!!!! Every team should have one !!!! 
Mon Galthie showed much anger on the touchline and went into the refs report for abuse to the 4th official so he could be back in the stands for the next few games if the disciplinary committee sanctions his outburst.
The final score was a resounding 51-6 for the hosts Toulon, and Montpellier will be back to the drawing board on Monday morning getting ready for that all important home game against Bordeaux Begles next Sat. afternoon ko.15.00 a must win if they are still considering a 4th place, home tie play-off game.
Steve Whittell.