Toulon lose 29-17 against Montpellier
Our men in red and black lost 29-17 against Montpellier, last Sunday.
Toulon showed much determination and their backline was solid in the early part of the game, but a realist Montpellier side took a 10-0 advantage after twenty minutes, as Fall scored a try after his scrum-half had found a space in the Toulon backline. Montpellier had previously lost their number-ten player, Goosen, due to an ankle injury.
Ten minutes before half-time, Toulon wing Daniel Ikpefan pierced the Montpellier backline and scored a try after a beautiful collective move. Toulon were then only trailing by three points (10-7). Unfortunately, they felt the pressure on the mauls and eventually conceded a try just before the siren blew. To make matters worse, Eric Escande picked up a yellow card after committing a foul. As a result, Montpellier led 15-7 at half-time and Toulon were temporarily down to fourteen men.
When the game resumed, the second turning point occurred : Belleau’s clearance was deflected, Serfontein picked up the ball and carried it into the in-goal area, as the Toulon backline was not aggressive enough on that occasion. Montpellier had thus taken a commanding lead (22-7) in ten minutes, as Toulon were down to fourteen men.
Trinh-Duc then scored a penalty at the 46th minute, but Picamoles then scored a fourth try for Montpellier. Piennar then added a penalty and Montpellier were leading 29-10 at the 51st minute.
After going through a bad patch for fifteen minutes, numerous Toulon players were substituted and the visiting team took control of the game: Fekitoa was everywhere, Belleau was on the attack, R. Taofifenua, Potgieter and Messam tried to force their way through the Montpellier backline, but the home team resisted. After Savea accelerated and received the help of Trinh-Duc, Meric scored a try at the 75th minute and deprived Montpellier of the bonus point (29-17).
Liam Messam was red-carded for a high tackle and, in the last move of the game, Toulon tried to grab a bonus point for a narrow defeat. However, they showed as much bravery as clumsiness and a forward pass meant they did not earn the point – it would have been the first one picked up away from home, this season.
Everything was far from being perfect and the Toulon team were quite sloppy again, but they were often more than a match for Montpellier. Next Sunday, they enter another competition, the Champions Cup, and will play against Newcastle at the Stade Mayol. Let us hope they will start a string of victories…