Kolbe's sensational start continues as Toulouse beat Toulon
TOP 14 WRAP: South African World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe kept up his impressive early-season try-scoring record by crossing in Toulouse’s 39-19 French Top 14 win over Toulon on Sunday.
Kolbe has dotted down five times in as many games since the restart and his first-half touchdown at Stade Ernest Wallon helped his side to a 25-0 lead at the break.
Kolbe’s outfit finished with 14 men after replacement prop Rodrigue Neti was sent off for a shoulder charge at a ruck with 20 minutes to play and missed out on a bonus points for scoring three tries more than their opponents.
“We started really well and at half-time we knew Toulon’s pride would bring them back into it. They showed it a lot in the second half but we grit our teeth and kept the lead,” Toulouse flyhalf Romain Ntamack told Canal+.
“We don’t think too much about the bonus, we might need it by the end of the season,” he added.
The hosts’ coach Ugo Mola made four changes from last Saturday’s European Champions Cup semifinal loss to Exeter Chiefs as South Africa loose forward Rynhardt Elstadt returned from a calf injury.
Mola’s counterpart Patrice Collazo handed a first league appearance to 19-year-old wing Kalani Robert and named teenager Clement Egiziano on the bench with the likes of World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth out injured.
France flyhalf Ntamack kicked two penalties and a conversion as Matthis Lebel scored his first try of the proceedings to give the home side a 13-0 lead after a quarter of the game.
Wing Kolbe crossed five minutes later after a superb long Antoine Dupont pass and Lucas Tauzin dived over after half an hour as Mola’s men had a 25-0 advantage at the break.
Toulon turn up late
Collazo’s side started the second half much better and crossed twice inside the first 10 minutes thanks to 20-year-old Simon Monetti and 19-year-old Egiziano but Argentina back-rower Facundo Isa hobbled off the field with a leg injury between both tries.
Isa was included in Pumas’ squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship on Friday after being omitted from the World Cup side last year.
Lebel claimed his second of the match with 25 minutes to go before Neti was shown a red card for a dangerous shoulder charge on Beka Gigashvili on the hour mark.
Anthony Meric cut the gap to 32-19 sneaking over from short range before France flank Francois Cros made the most of a dominant rolling maul for his side’s fifth try of the game.
On Monday, Lyon host Bordeaux-Begles in a re-arranged game due to coronavirus cases recorded by the home side.
Elsewhere, Castres’ trip to Montpellier and Racing 92’s visit of La Rochelle have been postponed due to COVID-19 cases.
Local media reported Racing will stay in a hotel this week to isolate to avoid further cases of Covid-19 ahead of the European Champions Cup final on October 17.