Top 14 - Newspaper Review
Saint-Andre hails 'genius' Wilkinson
September 21, 2009
Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson is congratulated by team mate Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Toulon v Toulouse, Top 14, Stade Velodrome, Marseille, France, September 20, 2009
Toulon's Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe congratulates team-mate Jonny Wilkinson following their victory over Toulouse in Marseille © Getty Images

Toulon coach Philippe Saint-Andre heaped praise fly-half Jonny Wilkinson following his side's 18-13 Top 14 victory over Toulouse in Marseille.

Saint André hailed his No.10's 'genius' as the difference between the two sides after the Wilkinson's five-star kicking performance saw them home against their title rivals in front of 60,000 fans at the Stade Velodrome.

"The genius of Jonny is that he knows how to be efficient," claimed the Toulon boss in an interview with Midi Olympique. "It was vital to win the match as we didn't want to slip down into mid-table so I asked Jonny to take a drop-goal when he could. It was important to score while we were enjoying a purple patch and that's what he did by scoring 15 points in the second half."

Champions Perpignan were rewarded with a try-scoring bonus point after a 28-9 victory at home to Montauban. USAP coach Jacques Brunel described the performance as "laborious" but was undoubtedly the happier of the two coaches. Montauban coach Marc Raynaud was left fuming at the performance of referee Cyril Lafon.

Raynaud claimed that Lafon had missed at least five knock-ons and had incorrectly awarded Perpignan their second try. The Montauban boss said, "I know well that we're not going to be in the Top 6 [playoffs] but we would like to refereed like everyone else. Today, it was Monsieur Lafon that was doing the scoring, certainly not USAP."

Perpignan's bonus point keeps the pressure on leaders Clermont Auvergne, who scored 40 points away to hapless Albi. Newly promoted this year, Albi are rooted to the bottom of the Top 14 and seem odds-on to be relegated - after only six games. Captain Vincent Clement said he felt "humiliated" afterwards.

"The score was heavy but I don't think it reflected the physicality of the match," said Clement, before also questioning the state of the refereeing. "How can you compete with the likes of Clermont when you have two-speed refereeing? It is truly not possible!"


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