Josua Tuisova touched down twice as Toulon moved above the Scarlets to the top of Champions Cup Pool 5 following a dominant 36-0 triumph over Benetton.
The Italians were unfortunate not to emerge victorious in the reverse fixture, with Francois Trinh-Duc’s late penalty snatching a late victory for Fabien Galthie’s side, and they gave a good account of themselves in the first half at the Stade Mayol.
Talented fly-half Anthony Belleau had given the hosts an ideal start but the visitors soon began to irritate their opponents.
Toulon effectively needed three more tries but they upped the intensity in the second period and Tuisova (twice), Mathieu Bastareaud and Hugo Bonneval efforts secured the bonus-point and took them to the Pool 5 summit.
The French club will now head to Wales to take on the Scarlets in a clash which decides who finishes top, while Benetton will face Bath having suffered a fifth successive defeat in this season’s Champions Cup.
It was a result which also continued Toulon’s inconsistent form as they followed last weekend’s disappointing loss to Brive with a comfortable victory on Sunday.
Despite the rain-sodden conditions making it difficult for expansive rugby, it arguably suited the hosts, whose power game gradually ground down the Treviso-based outfit.
They began on the front foot and, after a period of pressure inside the opposition 22, Belleau broke through a couple of tackles to touch down.
Toulon initially struggled to build on that positive opening, however, and the visitors duly grew into the contest, frustrating the French outfit with some stubborn defence.
Benetton also began to create a few half-chances but they failed to take advantage and the home side were next to get on the board.
Although Galthie’s men required the bonus-point victory, they decided to go for the posts when they were awarded a penalty – a decision which caused much angst amongst the home supporters – and Belleau converted for a 10-0 lead at the interval.
Evidently disappointed by their first half performance, the French outfit improved significantly after the break and Tuisova’s outstanding catch and finish set them on their way.
Bastareaud then crossed the whitewash following a dominant driving maul before Tuisova went over for the all-important fourth try.
The hosts could now relax and duly began to open up, creating several opportunities, but they could only add one more via Bonneval.
Tries: Belleau, Tuisova 2, Bastareaud, Bonneval
Cons: Belleau 3, Trinh-Duc