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Top 14, r8: Toulon's 3-26 victory piles more pressure on basement boys Bourgoin

24 September 2010

More pain for Bourgoin
Photo: Michael Paler

Bourgoin 3 (3)
Toulon 26 (16)

Tries from Gabi Lovobalavu and Rudi Wulf, combined with 16 more points from the prolific boot of Jonny Wilkinson, condemned struggling Bourgoin to their seventh defeat in eight games as they went down 3-26 at home to Toulon on Friday night.

This was Bourgoin's third home defeat of an already torrid season, their fourth loss on the spin and, just to make matters worse, they lost Argentine fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo to a calf injury that could rule him out for several weeks.

The former Leeds No 10 did manage Bourgoin's only points at the Stade Pierre Rajon on Friday night - with a seventh-minute penalty - but his absence will be a further blow to a club already emanating worrying signs of crisis as he has scored 81 of their 124 points so far accrued.

Top 14 League Table

Toulon, on the other hand, have now won three consecutive games and are clearly finding the cohesion that was understandable absent in the early weeks of the season following another hectic round of summer transfers. Scrum-half Pierre Mignoni admitted as much after Friday's win. "The start of the season was a little difficult," he said. "We were late coming back and there were a lot of new players. I'm not making excuses but we were not ready to play at our best level."

Last weekend's 28-16 win against Clermont indicated that level was now close to being acquired again, and their only disappointment about Friday's victory - their third on the road already this season - was that they didn't get the attacking bonus.

They certainly created enough opportunities to warrant it, especially in a dominant last 20 minutes, but Philippe Saint-André will be content with another convincing team performance as they claimed their fifth win of the season.

    Leading try and point-scorers in Top 14

Wilkinson, as ever, was integral to their latest victory as he kicked two penalties and a drop-goal to push them into a 3-9 lead as they approached half time. The 31-year-old then chipped over the top for centre Lovobalavu to chase through and score on 38 minutes, before adding the conversion to give the visitors a 3-16 interval lead.


Wilkinson went on to land yet another drop-goal - his eighth of the season - two minutes after the restart - before former All Black winger Rudi Wulf stole in for Toulon's second try on 64 minutes. Bourgoin complained a Joe El-Abd obstruction had tainted the try, but the ref stood by his decision and Wilkinson again added the extras to tee-up the late push for a bonus point.

"We were playing well tonight," said Mignoni afterwards. "The scrum was performing and the defence absorbed everything that came their way. We were able to kill it off quickly," added the former French international.

Bourgoin centre David Janin admitted it had been a "nightmarish game" for the hosts, adding the hosts were "eating crumbs" on the back of a Toulon's dominant pack. The really bad news for Bourgoin, however, is that they travel to Stade Toulousain next weekend.

  Bourgoin Toulon
Tries - Lovobalavu, Wulf
Conv - Wilkinson (2)
Pens Di Bernardo Wilkinson (2)
Drop-goals - Wilkinson (2)


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