Toulon flex their muscles against Toulouse


Paris (AFP)

Toulon flexed their muscles with a 32-15 bonus-point Top 14 victory at Toulouse on Sunday which could have saved under-fire manager Diego Dominguez his job.

A sign of their determination to put the record straight Toulon played down to the wire, getting a bonus point with Charles Ollivon's third try in the final minute.

Toulon move up to fourth with La Rochelle climbing to the summit of the table on Saturday as Fiji back Kini Murimurivalu scored a pair of tries in a thumping 43-18 win over promoted Lyon.

Brive, the leaders coming into the weekend, drop to fifth after suffering their first loss, 36-23 at rock-bottom Grenoble, who claimed their first win of the season.

After two defeats in three games against lowly Bayonne and Brive, last year's finalists Toulon had come to the Ernest-Wallon stadium looking to make a point ahead of facing big opposition in Racing 92, Clermont and Montpellier.

After an early round of observation during which Toulouse squandered six points up front, Toulon began to lay the groundwork for victory after 20 minutes.

An opening try from captain Guilhem Guirado was followed by a first in the Top 14 for pacy Argentine Sevens sensation Axel Muller from 80 metres out just before the break with the visitors leading 18-9.

Toulouse closed the gap thanks to a penalty from 50 metres off the boot of Florian Fritz on 52 minutes, but Ugo Mola's men were unable to reverse the trend, losing the duel of the kickers.

Leigh Halfpenny added two more penalties on 54 and 66 minutes to bring his tally to four, with Sebastien Bezy missing a decisive kick from 25 metres on 72 that could have put Toulouse back in the match.

And Toulon proved that they were far from in crisis with a Francois Trinh-Duc drop kick on 75 minutes followed by Ollivon's try.

Unbeaten La Rochelle are two points clear of Clermont who throttled defending champions Racing in Saturday's bonus-point 47-10 home victory.

Stade Francais dug in for a 29-25 win over Castres despite being reduced to 14 men after Jules Plisson was sent off to sit third equal on 11 points with Toulon after four matches.

Toulouse drop to ninth after their second straight defeat.