O'Connor stars as Toulon make play-offs

2016-05-21 20:06
Rugby Ball (Getty Images)

Paris - Wallaby utility back James O'Connor scored four tries to help Toulon to a 52-13 thrashing of already relegated Agen and a place in the Top 14 play-offs on Saturday.

A brace of tries in each half from O'Connor, capped 44 times by Australia, was matched by four more from his teammates as Quade Cooper, Charles Ollivon, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Eric Escande all crossed the whitewash.

Antoine Erbani grabbed a late consolation try for Agen, who had actually held a 6-0 lead for the first quarter after two early penalties.

The bonus-point victory put Toulon into second spot of the Top 14 on 77 points behind leaders Clermont, who play Stade Francais on Sunday.

They were joined later Saturday in the six-team play-offs by Montpellier and Racing 92.

Montpellier, fresh from winning the European Challenge Cup last weekend, defeated Bordeaux-Begles 19-16 after Racing had crushed Pau 43-13.

Jake White's Montpellier have now won 11 of their last 12 games but were trailing 16-12 until South African hooker Bismarck Du Plessis grabbed his team's only try and the eighth of his Montpellier career.

Fellow South African, fly-half Demetri Catrakilis kicked the rest of Montpellier's points.

Bordeaux's defeat had the added effect of promoting Castres into the sixth and final play-off spot with two games of the regular season left to play.

Castres scored 10 tries in a 67-20 rout of La Rochelle.

European Champions Cup runners-up Racing ran in six tries against Pau but the big-spending Paris side were hit by more injuries.

After Dan Carter (calf) and Maxime Machenaud (concussion) were already sidelined last week, Racing suffered three more worrying setbacks.

All Blacks back row forward Chris Masoe left the pitch in the 19th minute with a recurrence of the shoulder injury he suffered earlier in the campaign.

Fly-half Remi Tales picked up an ankle injury and was taken off at the interval while centre Casey Laulala took a hit on the right forearm he fractured two years ago.

Toulouse are in fifth place in the table and well-placed for a play-off spot after a 25-17 win at relegated Oyonnax.

Toulouse skipper Yoann Maestri saluted his team for the performance on Oyonnax's plastic pitch.

"We have never won here and this is a positive result because of the heat and artificial surface. Playing on it is a funny idea, the bounce is terrible," said Maestri.

Read more on:    top 14  |  rugby


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