Nigel Owens makes not straight comment


Steven Luatua Quarterback Lineout throw


Willem Alberts dancing alone in the gym


Lee Jones makes huge trysaving tackle


Prop Adam Jones' drop goal attempt


Test Rugby Results - Nov 15th weekend


In camp with Nick Cummins & the BaaBaas


Benito Masilevu's huge side-steps


Alesana Tuilagi trademark crunching hit

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Castres upset Toulon with first French Top 14 title victory in 20 years

Castres upset Heineken Cup champions Toulon with a 19-14 French Top 14 final victory at the Stade de France on Saturday. Toulon were unable to achieve the double, as Rory Kockott and Remi Tales took center stage with a try and two drop goals respectively.

Favourites Toulon were aiming to do the double after an outstanding season that included victory over Clermont in the European Cup final just a few weeks back. Castres, themselves having beaten Clermont in the Top 14 semi final, proved to be more clinical and played the smarter rugby.

A team with a far smaller budget than giants Toulon, Castres went about their business as the men in red made uncharacteristic handling errors, and Jonny Wilkinson hit the posts more than once.

Instead it was inspirational South African scrumhalf Rory Kockott who stepped up, controlling the game while scoring a well taken try late in the first half.

"I can't find the words. It was David against Goliath today. We are a team in which there is no star, noboby is better than the others," said Kockott, who scored eight points with the boot.

In the final ten minutes Remi Tales added to the Toulon misery as he slotted two very well taken Wilkinson-esque dropgoals, extending the lead and ultimately, sealing the win.

A late consolation try to Delon Armitage, who scored in the semi final too, brought the score closer but it did little to change the result, as Toulon will have to wait another year for a crack at the title.

"It's hard to take in, we did not play the way we wanted," said Wilkinson. "We need to keep the same spirit next year and learn from the lessons from today. We were not good enough to win."

It was Castres' fourth French title, but first since 1993, and a great send off for the coaching pair of Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers, who are heading to Racing Metro.

Posted at 3:07 pm | 26 comments

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Rory Kockott red card for flat hand slap on Adam Thomson

Midweek Madness - Cheeky scrumhalf Rory Kockott

Viewing 26 comments

Guest June 04, 2013 8:41 pm

Why does the team-prat always score for the french teams? Armitage for Toulon and now Rory Kockett

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peadard June 04, 2013 10:24 pm

Where's Delon Armitage's show-boating now?

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Sugarlump June 05, 2013 12:01 am

He wasn't show-boating as there was plenty to do to score that try, but he got a smack in the chops for his troubles so that should please the love to hate Armitage fan club.

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DanKnapp June 05, 2013 7:58 am

Good, glad there's something for me then.

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DrG June 05, 2013 12:14 pm

Um, it's the "Love to hate Delon fan club".... his brother is awesome...

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4LC4TR4Z June 05, 2013 7:49 am

And where was Brock James's show-boating on Delon earlier ?
In front of his TV, at home.

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blackT June 04, 2013 10:32 pm

Well earned Planxot! Nice to see small cities rugby not (yet?) dead

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stroudos June 04, 2013 10:33 pm

Bit confused by the Setanta logo in the corner of the screen... Didn't they go bankrupt a few years ago??

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kadova June 19, 2013 10:50 pm

No, they're fully alive in Ireland. And they show some of the Top14 matches. They also aired the RWC 2011 matches (not all of them).

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Pipo June 05, 2013 12:10 am

Can someone clarify the first try for me pls? I was under the impression that feigning a pass from the bottom of a ruck (or from a maul) was illegal.

Or is feigning that the ball is out, which would be a different thing, what is illegal?

Thanks in advance.

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Reality June 05, 2013 12:16 am

No, this is just a dummy pass. For the rule against feigning a pass from a ruck, it refers to when you pretend you've taken the ball out of the ruck and feign to pass, all the while the ball is still in the ruck. Here he removes the ball from the ruck, and at that point he can do whatever he wants with it.

It's an extremely rare occurence. My only recollection of it is Peter Stringer doing it a few years ago to the bewilderment of the commentators. It provides no benefit to you and you'll get penalised every time, so nobody ever does it as a result.

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The Green Mafia June 05, 2013 12:28 am

Is it me or kockotts try should be a penalty to toulon for obstruction from the castres n6 holding a defender (bakkies) who wasn't part of the ruck and preventing him to atempt a tackle on kockott? Also, at 77:12, when wilko gets tackled, the castres n4 dives on the ball, preventing it to be placed back and ultimatelly causing the turnover and shuting down the attack, surelly that is a penalty? Poor refereeing, seing that on the first situation the ref was looking directly at it from 3 meters back and on the turnover he was even closer. Before you call me a sore loser, I'm portuguese and I wanted clermont to come on top this year.

Allways good to see a smaller club fight back and take some silverware, though

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Southernman June 05, 2013 3:22 am

I'm a kiwi and hopefully this will provide you with neutral view point.
I think you are right with the first point. Where the Castres player who was unbound from the ruck was illegally holding a defender. He clearly impeded Bakkies, in which a penalty should have been awarded.
But I think this issue would have also highlights some problems with the TMO review system, because during the scrum prior to the try both defending Toulon loose forwards unbound (esp the 7) before the ball was cleared (2 penalties), and during the following ruck Bakkies was actually standing offside (not by much but still another penalty).
My current understanding of the TMO review system is that the Toulon would be awarded a penalty as this was the last occurring offence, which would ignore earlier offenses.
I am not a big fan of the TMO review of the passages examining phases and passes before a try and for this reason I think the TMO should just check the grounding and foot in touch.

I have to disagree with your second point though. In my view the defender fell over the attacker during the tackle, the tackler then rolls away and you can see his head on the other side of the ruck (if he didn't roll away it would have been a penalty). My only issue is the speed the ball arrives on the Castres side, which suggests hands. But since no hands can be seen you can't rule a penalty.

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Canadian content June 05, 2013 5:22 am

Plus total hands in the ruck by the castre 7 before kockott's clearance. Ref totally blew, too bad, could have been a grand stand finish. Rucks are sO poorly reffed nowadays

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marty June 05, 2013 12:58 am

Oh!!! Kockott what a player he is, solid all season long and he totally blew Michalak off the charts in this game! Just so happy to see Toulon lose, they are the NY Yankees of french rugby

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Pipo June 05, 2013 1:12 am

Michalak might have been good in the past but his current form (meaning this year) both for country and club hasn't been that good.

Especially when playing for France, why the hell is he playing instead of Trin Duc? I have no idea... especially after he screwed the 6 nations game against England almost single-handedly.

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Frenchie June 05, 2013 6:24 am

@Pipo
I'm 100 % with you. And guess what, Saint Andre has called Michalak but not Trinh Duc for the tour in NZ...
Remember that Fofana has sat on the bench for a couple of games during the 6N. A waste of good players!

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Pipo June 05, 2013 6:41 am

Yes, I read that somewhere, that Michalak was going but not Trinh Duc --what is wrong with Saint Andre??!!

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DrG June 05, 2013 12:17 pm

Perhaps Saint Andre has a got someone to place a few bets at the bookies for him...

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4LC4TR4Z June 05, 2013 7:52 am

Trinh-Duc !!!?????
HAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHHHHAAAAHAHHAHA !!!!

Thanx for that big lol.

What a random guy. Nicolas Mas is better than him at flyhalf.

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jean June 05, 2013 10:58 am

Please show some respect to the guy. Trinh duc is a good fly half, with excellent vision, french flair and vista. His foot is not that good, but for the rest he is way better than Michalak.

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4LC4TR4Z June 06, 2013 8:45 am

As Skrela before, Trinh-Duc is a 12, no way a 10.
Michalak is a 9. Who pathetically wants to play 10 where he is very unconstant.
But still far better than Trinh-Duc who even lost his seat in Montpellier !

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kadova June 19, 2013 10:48 pm

FTD was tried at 12 and he was no good.
He's not taken because he was given a break after 3 full years opf playing non stop.

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Number 7 June 05, 2013 9:36 am

Great work by the No.8, staying on his feet, leading up to that first try. Stayed on his feet like a trooper!

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iamaroman June 05, 2013 3:20 pm

for those who don't know, Delon Armitage didn't shake Francois Holland's hand after the game.

http://www.last-video.com/un-joueur-de-toulon-ne-serre-pas-la-main-de-francois-hollande

He has apologised about it saying it was an honest mistake.

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Eddie-g June 05, 2013 4:43 pm

Pleased for Kockott. Always been a handy player, but he made the move to France in part because his Bok prospects weren't looking too good, and what better way of justifying the choice by getting a Top 14 trophy.

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