Toulon 37 - Montpellier 16
Delon Armitage and Toulon punished Montpellier for fielding an under-powered side in this Mediterranean derby as they eased to a workmanlike bonus point win at a rain-soaked Stade Félix-Mayol on Sunday evening.
Former England full-back Armitage, a summer recruit from London Irish, scored two second-half tries including the one that clinched the bonus point after 67 minutes.
Jonny Wilkinson also contributed ten points to Toulon’s comfortable victory as well as setting up their opening try for flanker Pierrick Gunther with a perfectly-weighted kick through the Montpellier defence.
Wilkinson required treatment for a cut head suffered in a collision with Montpellier centre Paul Bosch but he returned to action to help Toulon claim the bonus point.
Montpellier made eleven changes to the side that beat Racing Metro the previous week with coach Fabien Galthie opting to give game time to some of his fringe players after two months of Top 14 rugby.
Galthie also said that he was disappointed to have been drawn in a pool alongside another French club and that he would have preferred trips to some more exotic locations rather than a two hour coach journey along the coast.
Montpellier, beaten at home by Toulon a month ago, were competitive for a while with Scotland number eight Johnnie Beattie keen to impress in his first start since his summer move from Glasgow.
They also took the lead but held it only briefly as Ilian Perraux’s early penalty was soon cancelled out by Wilkinson who equalised with a ninth minute penalty into a blustery wind.
Wilkinson then chipped through for Gunther who satisfied television match official Graham Hughes that he had got sufficient downward pressure on the ball before it bounced away from him.
Wilkinson was off target with the conversion and a subsequent penalty attempt but Toulon stretched their lead when Armitage broke from defence and wing Vincent Martin unleashed Bakkies Botha, the former South Africa lock, who galloped away for a try on his debut in the competition, with an audacious dummy thrown in.
The weather conditions deteriorated but Wilkinson nudged Toulon further ahead with another penalty and Perraux’s second penalty early in the second half was only a minor irritant to Toulon.
Armitage took a pass from his brother Steffon to score his first try and finished superbly to seal the bonus point and claim the man of the match award.
Mamuka Gorgodze’s try kept Montpellier interested in the losing bonus point until Mathieu Bastareaud ploughed over for Toulon’s fifth try.
SOURCE: The Telegraph