Toulon got their Top 14 campaign off to an impressive start when they claimed a 41-14 victory over Pau at Stade Mayol on Sunday.
In an entertaining game, played at a frenetic pace, Toulon were full value for their win outscoring their visitors four tries to two with Anthony Belleau finishing with a 21 point haul after slotting five penalties and three conversions and Chris Ashton crossed for a deserved brace.
Toulon were fastest out of the blocks and raced into a 9-0 lead after Belleau slotted three penalties inside the opening 15 minutes.
The homeside continued to dominate and shortly after Belleau’s third penalty Hugo Bonneval and Vincent Clerc traded passes before Bonneval crossed for the opening try.
Toulon extended their lead in the 23rd minute when Marcel Van der Merwe barged over from a maul deep inside Pau’s 22. Three minutes before half-time, former Toulon flanker Pierrick Gunther opened Pau’s account when he crossed for a deserved try off the back of a lineout drive.
Colin Slade added the exttras which meant Toulon led 23-7 at the interval. Belleau extended Toulon’s lead courtesy of his fourth penalty in the 46th minute but Pau struck back two minutes later when Florian Nicot dotted down after Julien Tomas did well in the build-up.
Belleau added his fifth penalty on the hour-mark and Toulon controlled proceedings during the final quarter. Ashton got his name on the scoresheet when he intercepted a wayward pass from Slade – close to Pau’s 10-metre line – before outpacing the cover defence and crossing for a deserved try.
And the former Saracens wing sealed Toulon’s win in the 68th minute when he gathered a pass from Belleau before diving over in the right-hand corner.
Tries: Bonneval, Van der Merwe, Ashton 2,
Cons: Belleau 3
Pens: Belleau 5
Tries: Gunther, Nicot
Cons: Slade 2