Toulon work hard to beat Scarlets and keep pressure on Saracens

Mike Ford's team do enough in first half to put distance on Welsh side and return to winning ways

Toulon’s lock Samu Manoa (centre) vies with fullback Liam Williams (left) of Scarlets during the Champions Cup match at Mayol stadium. Photograph: Getty.

Toulon’s lock Samu Manoa (centre) vies with fullback Liam Williams (left) of Scarlets during the Champions Cup match at Mayol stadium. Photograph: Getty.

 

CHAMPIONS CUP ROUND-UP

Toulon were made to work hard by Scarlets as they recorded a 31-20 bonus-point success to keep up the pressure on Saracens in Pool 3.

Mike Ford’s side were heavy favourites to return to winning ways after being beaten by Saracens in their last home Champions Cup encounter and they did exactly that as Mamuka Gorgodze, Leigh Halfpenny and Romain Taofifenua all scored before the break.

Ken Owens responded for the Welsh side, but Guilhem Guirado scored Toulon’s crucial fourth try at the start of the second half.

Wales fullback Halfpenny was inch-perfect from the tee with 11 points as the Scarlets returned home pointless despite John Barclay’s late effort.

In Pool 4, Montpellier beat Castres 32-14 despite playing more than an hour with 14 men.

Shoulder charged

Trailing 8-3 after 18 minutes following Rory Kockott’s penalty and Remi Grosso’s breakaway try, Montpellier then lost prop Davit Kubriashvili to a red card after he shoulder charged Castres’ Thibault Lassale in a ruck.

Kockott added another penalty but a crucial try just before half-time from Timoci Naguca turned the game.

Benjamin Urdapilleta kicked Castres’ third penalty but, despite playing with a seven-man pack, Montpellier dominated from driving lineouts as flanker Kelian Galletier and hooker Shalva Mamukashvili both touched down.

Nic White added the bonus-point try before Castres forward Alexandre Bias spent the final eight minutes in the sin bin.

Exeter’s campaign is almost certainly over in Pool 5 as they succumbed to another defeat at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs squandered a host of chances as they fell to a third consecutive defeat in the competition, which leaves them stuck at the bottom of Pool 5 with only two points – 10 behind leaders Clermont.

Late penalty

Jack Maunder scored the Exeter try which Gareth Steenson converted.

Baptiste Serin scored a try and a penalty for the French with Ian Madigan kicking a conversion and Lionel Beauxis a late penalty.

Meanwhile, Gregor Townsend hailed Glasgow’s heroic defensive effort after a famous 23-14 win at Racing 92.

Townsend’s side claimed only their third win on French soil to give their hopes of qualifying from the pool stage of the competition a huge boost.

Tries from Alex Dunbar and Ali Price put Glasgow on the road to victory a year on from a defeat in Paris that all but ended their European hopes.

The Argentina wing Juan Imhoff put Racing ahead in the opening exchanges before Dan Carter scored late, but it was not enough to lift them off the foot of Pool 1 before next week’s return fixture at Scotstoun.

“It was great seeing the players going out there and performing,” Townsend said. “We missed that opportunity last year with a couple of errors that they capitalised on but today we looked after the ball really well and took our chances especially in the first half.

“We were outstanding in defence, not only in general but in our lineout defence where they are really strong.”

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