Jonny marks marriage in style
Jonny Wilkinson (Gallo Images)
Paris - Jonny Wilkinson celebrated his marriage in style by kicking 22 points as Heineken champions Toulon beat Bordeaux-Begles 37-17 in the French Top 14 on Friday.
Toulon went back to the top of the table after a performance which featured three tries by the big-spending club's international brigade.
All three scores came in the second half through Australian centre Matt Giteau, Ali Williams, the former All Black lock forward, and English full back Delon Armitage.
Wilkinson, who married longtime girlfriend Shelley Jenkins in the French resort of Bandol on Monday, ended the game with his head bandaged after a nasty clash.
But after a disappointing kicking display in his team's 13-12 loss to Toulouse last weekend, Wilkinson was coolness personified on Friday, just three weeks out from the 10th anniversary of having famously kicked England to the 2003 World Cup title in Australia.
"We have to pay tribute to Bordeaux who caused us many problems, especially at the scrum," said Toulon forwards coach Jacques Delmas.
"They fed off our mistakes in the first half and we were rushing. But we refocused at half-time and were able to influence the game.
"Our only regret was not being able to get an offensive bonus point."
Wilkinson was responsible for all of his team's points in the first period which ended 12-12 with Pierre Bernard matching his illustrious counterpart for accuracy with the boot.
South Africa winger Bryan Habana, making his home debut for Toulon, had been unlucky not to mark the occasion with a try in the ninth minute.
His clever chip ahead was thwarted by a body-check from Bordeaux fullback Darly Domvo who conceded the first penalty to be gobbled up by Wilkinson.
The momentum of the match shifted two minutes into the second half when Bordeaux centre Felix Le Bourhis was yellow-carded for a late tackle on Toulon scrumhalf Sebastien Tillous-Borde.
In the 10 minutes he was off the field, Toulon stretched their advantage to 22-12 with Giteau grabbing the opening try by bursting through an inviting gap to score beneath the posts.
Williams extended the lead to 27-12 when Wilkinson unleashed a smart, crossfield punt over the Bordeaux defence where the veteran Kiwi collected to score in the corner.
Fiji winger Metuisela Talebula scored Bordeaux's lone try of the night just three minutes later to cut the deficit to 27-17, but a Wilkinson drop goal - his second of the night - made it 30-12 before Armitage sprinted over for a last minute score for Toulon.
Clermont can take top spot if they beat defending champions Castres in Friday's late match.
Clermont haven't won a league match in Castres in 37 years.