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Wilkinson on song as Toulon topple Clermont

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-19

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson inspired Toulon to a 28-16 comeback win over title-holders Clermont on Saturday. Earlier, Racing-Metro moved to first place in France's Top 14 after a 51-20 defeat of Bourgoin.

AFP - Racing-Metro went top of the French first division for the first time in 20 years after handing struggling Bourgoin a 51-20 drubbing on Saturday.

The Parisian side now have 23 points, with European champions Toulouse, 29-20 winners over Bayonne on Friday, in second place two points adrift.

Racing scored six tries through outside-half Jonathan Wisniewski, hooker Benjamin Noirot, backrowers John Leo'o and Jone Qovu, and a brace through wingers Sireli Bobo and Henry Chavancy.

Bourgoin replied with tries from Nemani Nadolo and Rudi Coetzee, but it was not enough and the club, having seen playmaker Benjamin Boyet move to Bayonne in the off season, remain rooted to the bottom of the Top 14.

"We said to ourselves at half-time that we just had to do the simple things, to try and get over the vantage line and stopping playing basketball," said Racing's New Zealander coach Simon Mannix.

"Rugby is very simple. We did that in the second-half and we scored a hatful of tries.

"It's been 20 years since Racing were last leaders, but really we don't care about the standings. Our goal is to improve every time. We saw an improvement from last week and that's good, but there are still 19 games to go."

At Marseille's Stade Velodrome in front of 45,000 spectators, Jonny Wilkinson again worked his magic for Toulon, racking up a personal haul of 23 points (five penalties, two drop-goals, one conversion) to add to a try by captain Joe Van Niekerk to secure a 28-16 win over Clermont.

The defending Top 14 champions took an early lead when Wesley Fofana crossed for a try converted by Morgan Parra, but Benoit Baby was yellow carded for a high tackle early in the second period and Wilkinson took control.

The result left Toulon in fourth spot with Clermont midtable with four losses in their seven outings so far this season.

Alongside Clermont are Stade Francais, who continued their dismal away form in letting an 18-12 half-time lead slip away for Perpignan to claim a 22-21 victory.

Lionel Beauxis could only manage one second-half penalty for the visitors, as full-back Jerome Porical scored all his team's points, including a vital 55th minute converted try and a later penalty.

Stade at least claimed a losing bonus point, backs Julien Arias and Quentin Valancon both having crossed for tries within the first 23 minutes.

Elsewhere, Biarritz claimed a 29-23 away win over promoted La Rochelle, and Castres beat Brive 28-6.

Biarritz had veteran Dimitri Yachvili to thank after he came off the bench to boot three penalties and a conversion to seal the win.

Castres scored a try through France international winger Marc Andreu, with full-back Romain Teulet notching up six conversions and Kiwi outside-half Cameron McIntyre nailing a drop goal. Brive had only two penalties from Julien Carminati to show for their efforts.

In the day's late game, Montpellier travel to Agen.

Date created : 2010-09-18

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