Heineken Cup Pool 2: Toulon and Glasgow both take the bonus

Last Updated: 13/10/13 6:34pm

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Maxime Mermoz dives over for one of four first-half Toulon tries

Maxime Mermoz dives over for one of four first-half Toulon tries

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Toulon beat Glasgow 51-28 but the Scots scored four second-half tries to earn an unexpected bonus point against the Heineken Cup champions.

Toulon were untouchable early on but the invincible aura around them gradually drained away, to the point where their supporters' cheers turned to jeers as the second half wore on.

The champions though were never truly threatened for the lead, with their key players led by Matt Giteau guiding them through their first challenge on the way to back-to-back titles.

Early scrum trouble for Jon Welsh saw the tighthead concede consecutive penalties, Jonny Wilkinson adding three points from 30 metres out to put the champions ahead.

All Toulon needed was a sniff and Wilkinson made the first try happen, collecting a high kick and then combining with Maxime Mermoz to make the space outside for Delon Armitage to dive over in the corner.

Exceptional handling from Toulon then brought about their second try - a burst from Joe Van Niekerk down the right touchline making the space inside for Josua Tuisova to send over France centre Maxime Mermoz.

For all of Glasgow's endeavour, their set-piece thwarted all their best efforts. A miscued lineout resulted in a scrum penalty, from which Toulon kicked into the corner and rumbled over for their third try for a rolling maul - captain Chris Masoe at the bottom of the pile for a textbook score.

Wilkinson departed with a hand injury, Frederic Michalak his replacement, but the eight-man juggernaut that was Toulon's maul continued to absorb the energy and focus of the visitors, leaving Mermoz with a simple run to the line off Michalak's cute pass for Toulon's try bonus-point after 35 minutes.

The France half-back added a penalty just before the interval to leave Toulon 34-0 ahead.

Momentum

Glasgow finally found some momentum, perhaps spurred on by having nothing to lose, as DTH van der Merwe went over for the try with Ruaridh Jackson converting.

Toulon reshuffled their backs with Michalak moving to scrum-half and Matt Giteau to 10, bringing on recent Wallaby signing Drew Mitchell for his first appearance in the Heineken Cup.

Giteau benefited from the extra space at first receiver to ghost through the Glasgow defence for try number five, the Toulon pack punching the necessary holes beforehand to free up the space for the Australian playmaker.

Glasgow's ambition though remained intact and the Pro12 leaders snatched a second try thanks to Jackson's break, relishing the open space to draw the last man and send the lively Niko Matawalu over under the posts.

Toulon gradually shut down as Glasgow made it three tries in the second half through Jonny Gray, brother of Castres lock' Richie, who crashed over after fine work from Matawalu and Ryan Grant.

Van der Merwe capitalised on Toulon's lax defending to make it four tries in 20 minutes for Glasgow, giving them a surprise bonus point.

Michalak's second penalty stemmed the flow of Glasgow points as Steffon Armitage made an impact off the bench at the breakdown, but Glasgow continued to probe and threaten the space behind the Toulon defensive line.

Giteau scampered over for his second try in the dying moments to bring up the 50-point mark for Toulon and add some gloss to the scoreline.

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