Toulon edge Bath in European Cup

James O'Connor has returned to training with Toulon

Freddie Michalak kicked a late penalty to help Toulon edge Bath 12-9 in the European Rugby Champions Cup at Stade Félix Mayol in Toulon, France.

Michalak’s penalty in the 76th minute was the first time in the match that Toulon were ahead on the scoreboard in a tight contest which saw Toulon tested throughout.

The result is a lifeline for Toulon in the European Rugby Champions Cup as they lost their opening match this season but still have much work to do in their upcoming fixtures.

France international Michalak came off the bench to give Toulon the victory over dogged Bath, who deserved more from a game they lit up with some ambitious and at times scintillating running rugby.

George Ford kicked two drop goals for the visitors but they came up short and a second straight Pool 5 defeat leaves them with little chance of making the last eight.

Toulon are now just two points behind group leaders Wasps, who must still come to the south of France.

The first half was far more entertaining than the scoreline suggested after Eric Escande scored a pair of penalties in response to Ford knocking over one and adding a drop goal in what had been an enjoyable match.

Ford knocked over another drop goal early in the second period as an adventurous Bath side frequently attacked from deep.

Toulon started to get their own running game into gear and Escande levelled matters for a third time.

But after resisting a long period of Bath pressure, during which time Ford narrowly knocked another drop goal wide, Toulon steam-rollered up the other end and won the decisive penalty.

To put the loss for Bath into perspective Toulon have only conceded one losing bonus point in their last 15 contests at home and have never lost a home game in the European Cup after 18 matches.

Bath are third in Pool 5 but are not out of contention as they are on 9 points after four matches. Wasps lead with 14 points and Toulon are second on 12 points.

Final Score Toulon 12 (6) Bath 9 (6)

Scorers

Toulon
Tries –
Pen – Escande 3, Michalak
Con –
Drop –

Bath
Tries –
Pen – Ford
Con –
Drop – Ford 2

Match Officials
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland),
Assistant ref: Sean Gallagher (Ireland),
Assistant ref: Mark Connolly (Ireland),
TMO: Alan Rogan (Ireland),
Citing Commissioner: Stefano Marrama (Italy)

Teams

RC Toulon: James O’Connor; Josua Tuisova, Mathieu Bastareaud, Ma’a Nonu, Bryan Habana; Quade Cooper, Eric Escande; Florian Fresia, Guilhem Guirado, Levan Chilachava, Jocelino Suta, Konstantine Mikautadze, Juan Smith, Juan Fernandez Lobbe (c), Duane Vermeulen

Replacements: Anthony Etrillard, Xavier Chiocci, Matt Stevens, Steffon Armitage, Frederic Michalak, Maxime Mermoz, Sebastien Tillous-Borde, Thibault Lassale

: Anthony Watson; Semesa Rokoduguni, Jonathan Joseph, Kyle Eastmond, Matt Banahan; George Ford, Chris Cook; Nick Auterac, Rob Webber, David Wilson, Stuart Hooper, Dom Day, Matt Garvey, Francois Louw, Leroy Houston

Replacements: Ross Batty, Max Lahiff, Henry Thomas, Charlie Ewels, David Denton, Jonathan Evans, Rhys Priestland, Tom Homer

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