La Rochelle (AFP)
La Rochelle, in the unknown at the start of this Top 14, did not miss its first Saturday at home by offering Toulon (29-15), too undisciplined to hope for better.
In a half-full Marcel-Deflandre stadium (8,000 spectators) following a prefectural exemption, the Maritimes played a bad blow to their former manager Patrice Collazo, who saw many of his sectors failing.
More pragmatic, the Rochelais never trembled, suddenly forgetting the correction (49-0) suffered against Racing 92 at the end of February just before the end of the championship, as well as the slap (38-0) inflicted by Toulouse during their last preparation match in August.
Two tries signed Ihaia West (16th), man of the match with 24 points scored, and Arthur Retière (69th), the top scorer of the last championship, rewarded the most disciplined team with a choppy resumption match and without flight.
The fault mainly with the Toulonnais, without control and too often with the fault which could never recover from their initial expenditure (16-0, 16th).
To his three penalties, the New Zealand striker added an opportunistic try, born of a breakthrough by Brice Dulin with a kick to follow poorly controlled by the visiting rearguard that the prompt West flattened.
Anthony Belleau in check against the bars (0 of 2), the RCT relied on the boot of Baptiste Serin, one of the few of his team at the height, to limit the gap at the break (19- 6) reached in double numerical inferiority (yellow cards for Emerick Setiano and Duncan Paia'aua).
We thought the break was beneficial to Toulon, more determined on the return and even getting closer to the score (22-15, 69th).
But their hope was lost the following minute on a ball discarded by Tawera Kerr-Barlow towards Retière, unstoppable on its small side, which ensured the victory of his family, relieved.
© 2020 AFP