Sat 6 Apr 2019 | 11:49

All Black Fekitoa halts Toulouse's record run

All Black Fekitoa halts Toulouse's record run
Sat 6 Apr 2019 | 11:49
All Black Fekitoa halts Toulouse's record run

TOP14 WRAP: Former New Zealand international Malakai Fekitoa scored twice as Toulon ended Toulouse’s record 14-match unbeaten run in the French Top 14 with a 25-10 victory on Saturday.

Fekitoa, 26, dotted down after JP Pietersen’s early try as the home side controlled a match played in greasy conditions at Marseille’s Velodrome.

Toulouse failed to make the most of a one-man advantage for the final 25 minutes after the home side’s prop Florian Fresia was sent off for punching Lucas Tauzin.

The league leaders’ last loss was against champions Castres in September. Their recent good form has propelled them to the top of the table and into a European Champions Cup semi-final, where they will face Leinster on April 21.

“It’s our worst match for at least five months, it’s just reward for Toulon who bring our run to an end,” Toulouse forwards coach William Servat said.

“Today we failed to produce good play, we lacked energy, we were confronted physically by Toulon and we couldn’t match it,” he added

Toulon backs coach Sebastien Tillous-Borde praised his outfit’s ability to win without the red-carded Fresia.

“We adapted well to the weather conditions especially in the second-half when we were down to 14 men. It was a great performance,” he said.

Toulon’s Francois Trinh-Duc opened the scoring on four minutes with a penalty before Romain Ntamack replied with one of his own six minutes later.

The visitors made the most of their domination as South African Pietersen, playing at full back, crashed over for his third try of the season.

Toulouse struggled as a soap-bar ball at the Velodrome restricted their free-flowing off-load game.

The home side made the most of a Toulouse handling error on 32 minutes.

Ex-All Black Fekitoa picked up the loose possession in his own half and passed wide.

Fiji winger Josua Tuisova made a break before finding Fekitoa on his inside for a try that stretched the advantage to 15-3 after Trinh-Duc’s second succesful conversion.

Toulon were down to 14 seconds before the break as Tuisova was sin-binned for a high tackle on centre Theo Belan.

The slow second half sparked into life after 15 minutes. A powerful tackle by Toulon’s Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb provoked a scuffle.

Webb’s teammate Fresia went face-to-face with Toulouse’s Tauzin and punched the winger to earn a red card.

Despite being down a man, Toulon continued to dominate.

Fekitoa, who is leaving for Wasps after the season, went over for his second try with 17 minutes to go.

He ran a powerful line, collected a Webb pass from the base of a scrum and touched down. Before Saturday he had only scored one Top 14 try all season.

France fly-half Anthony Belleau added a three-pointer five minutes later put Toulon 25-3 ahead.

Toulouse denied Toulon a bonus point with a 77th minute Pierre Pages try.

The game ended with the 50,000 crowd performing Mexican waves in the drizzling rain.

Elsewhere, one-from bottom Grenoble beat Stade Francais 21-17 as Piet van Zyl claimed a late bonus point for the Parisians.

Reigning champions Castres beat indisciplined La Rochelle 25-11 to move to the top of the crowd of teams chasing the last four playoff places.

La Rochelle took the lead with a try by Marc Andreu.

La Rochelle took the lead with a try by Marc Andreu.

Thomas Combezou replied before half time and Benjamin Urdapilleta kicked five penalties for the hosts against two by Ihaia West for La Rochelle.

Alex Tulou added a final try in the dying seconds as Rochelle defended with 14 men after Jeremy Sinzelle received a yellow card for leading with an elbow.

Just behind Castres, Bordeaux-Begles solidified their hold on a play-off spot, overcoming relegation-threatened Perpignan 31-22. Resurgent Montpellier hammered Agen 33-17.

Saturday’s results:

Toulon 25 Toulouse 10
Bordeaux-Begles 31 Perpignan 22
Grenoble 21 Stade Francais 17
Montpellier 33 Agen 17
Castres 25 La Rochelle 11

Sunday’s fixtures:

Pau v Lyon
Clermont v Racing 92

Agence France-Presse

PV: 861

All Black Fekitoa Halts Toulouse's Record Run - All Black Fekitoa Halts Toulouses Record Run | Rugby365