Matt Giteau inspires Toulon

2014-10-04 08:04
Matt Giteau (Getty)

Paris - Australian star Matt Giteau led French and European champions Toulon to a scrappy, bad-tempered 21-18 win over Oyonnax on Friday to take pole position in the Top 14.

The flyhalf played the decisive role in his team's two tries as Toulon avenged their shock 25-22 loss at Oyonnax last season.

Oyonnax picked up the consolation of a losing bonus point but they will count themselves unfortunate not to have claimed another famous win after leading 18-14 with 10 minutes left.

"They scored with the only chances they had," Oyonnax wing Jeff Coux told Canal Rugby.

"It's a real shame because there was a real burst of energy. We are disappointed."

Oyonnax, based in a small town in the shadow of the Alps with a population of just 23,000, enjoyed the early initiative.

Flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta, who kicked the winning drop goal in last year's win, was on target with an early penalty which in turn was quickly cancelled out by Toulon's Australian winger James O'Connor.

Toulon's star-studded pack was under constant pressure and prop Xavier Chiocci was yellow-carded in the 18th minute.

Uncharacteristically, Urdapilleta fluffed two penalties before recovering his accuracy with a successful kick for 6-3.

O'Connor levelled it up again and the champions made the home side pay for failing to hammer home their dominance up front with the only try of the first period.

Samoan winger David Smith, just one of only two uncapped players in the Toulon starting XV, burst through a huge gap and muscled past three defenders.

He was held up but the ball was recycled to Giteau whose quick-thinking crossfield kick fell into the waiting arms of South African lock Juanne Smith to dot down.

O'Connor missed the extras before Urdapilleta knocked over a penalty on the stroke of half-time to cut the deficit to 9-11.

Urdapilleta then succeeded with an early second-half penalty after Carl Hayman had been penalised for not releasing the ball for a 12-11 lead which became 15-11 on the hour mark courtesy of a confident drop goal.

The home side then appeared to give the champions the advantage when Samoan lock Maurie Fa'asavalu, a convert from rugby league, was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on Giteau.

O'Connor popped over the resulting penalty but Oyonnax hit back to lead 18-14 with another Urdapilleta penalty.

Giteau then stepped up to play another crucial role in Toulon's second try, running at pace into the Oyonnax defensive line, releasing fellow Australian Drew Mitchell to burst through and score.

O'Connor added the extras for 21-18 with 10 minutes left and the champions clung on to take top spot ahead of Saturday's matches.

Read more on:    toulon  |  top 14  |  matt giteau  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Did Stormers and Springboks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit deserve to be named SA Rugby Player of the Year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.