Sunday, August 16, 2009
The French Top 14 kicked off at Stade Mayol on Friday night as Toulon hosted visitors Stade Francais in front of a sell-out crowd. The match wasnt a classic by any means, but it was tense at times and ended in a 22-22 draw.
English flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson had an adequate start for his new club, kicking 17 points. He looked to have snatched the win for his side with a well taken drop goal nine minutes from time.
It was Stades South African scrumhalf Falie (Noel) Oelshig though who matched Wilkinson for all he was worth, having an equally good kicking night, and slotting a neat drop goal of his own to tie things up late in the match.
Tries were scored on the night by Juan Leguizamon for Stade Francais, and Thomas Sourice for Toulon.
James Haskell, also on debut in the Top 14, was yellow carded late in the first half for cynically playing the ball on the ground at a ruck.
All eyes were on Wilkinson though, with the 30 year old having enjoyed the night.
"I felt good physically and it was important for me to play 80 minutes," he told a French website.
"I scored 17 points, but the most important thing was that we didn't win.
"But the atmosphere was incredible. At one moment, I had just kicked a penalty and I asked myself what had happened in the stadium such was the noise.
"I hope that there will be a lot more moments like this."