Toulon 22 (19)
Castres 15 (6)
The combined power of Toulon's pack and Jonny Wilkinson's boot combined to send the Cote d'Azur club to a satisfying 22-15 home win against Castres on Friday night.
The victory was Toulon's in succession in the league and sends them into next weekend's Heineken Cup debut in fine spirits after continuing their recovery from a sticky start to the current Top 14 campaign.
Top 14 League Table
Wilkinson kicked 17 points on the night - via four penalties, a drop-goal and a conversion - with Toulon's other effort being a penalty try while they exerted inexorable forward pressure during Steve Malonga's spell in the sin-bin shortly before half time. Wilkinson has now amassed an impressive 135 points for Toulon in just eight starts this season, while lucky mascot Joe El-Abd continued his own wining streak. The former Bristol player has started six games for Toulon this season, and they have won every time.
Leading try and point-scorers in Top 14
Wilkinson and Castres full-back Romain Teulet traded an early penalty each before the former put Toulon on course for a 19-6 half-time lead with an opportunist drop-goal - his ninth of the season - on 15 minutes. Toulon's front row dominance earned the England fly-half two further successful penalty attempts in the next quarter of an hour before Malonga's late tackle on the 31-year-old set up the hosts for their 38th-minute penalty-try after a series of 5m scrums.
Wilko, inevitably, kicked the conversion, while Teulet pulled three points back for the visitors with his second success of the half.
The second half was a more scrappy affair with Castres outscoring their hosts by three penalties to one to earn a valuable defensive bonus, but Toulon will be happy with their fourth straight success as they ready themselves for the Ospreys at home in next weekend's eagerly anticipated Heineken debut.
Castres are also in Heineken Cup action next weekend, but they will travel to Northampton Saints with slightly less optimism after slipping to their fifth away defeat from five so far this season.
||Teulet (4), Bai