Toulon blow as Taofifenua sidelined

Toulon (France) (AFP) –


Toulon were dealt a blow in their bid to nail down a Top 14 play-off top-six spot with news Tuesday that lock Romain Taofifenua will be sidelined for "several weeks".

The 30-year-old France international sustained whiplash in an early scrum in the 34-17 victory over Agen on the weekend.

Taofifenua's absence piles more woe on Toulon's second-row resources.

Three locks have already been operated on this season: South African World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth (finger), New Zealander Brian Alainu'uese (ankle) and Frenchman Matthias Halagahu (shoulder). Swan Rebbadj has also picked up a knee injury, although it has not been announced for how long he could be sidelined.

That leaves Toulon with just two operating locks in Adrien Warion, who played his first game for the club on the weekend after arriving from Pro D2 outfit Provence Rugby and Englishman Levi Douglas, drafted in as a medical replacement.

Toulon are currently fifth in the Top 14 on 57 points, just one ahead of Lyon in sixth. Castres, in seventh, are on 55pts, while Bordeaux-Begles and Stade Francais both have 53.

Toulon host Top 14 leaders Toulouse on Saturday, before a run-in to the end of the regulation season that includes home games against Clermont and Bordeaux-Begles interspersed with tricky trips to Montpellier, Clermont and Castres.