Against Saracens this past weekend Mathieu Bastareaud reminded everyone that he’s still one of the game’s biggest hitters, and that you can indeed still make enormous, legal hits in a rugby union match. His effort is without a doubt one of the biggest of the year so far.
Saracens fullback Alex Lozowski was the unfortunate recipient of the crushing tackle from the giant French centre, with just under ten minutes to play. As Saracens nursed a seven point lead, Lozowski went on the attack and managed to spin out of a Ma’a Nonu tackle, only to be rag-dolled by the lurking Bastareaud.
If that wasn’t enough, hard-hitting USA forward Samu Manoa was there a split second later, ensuring Lozowski never stood a chance.
Credit to Lozowski, who somehow kept whatever wits he still possessed, as he held onto the ball and made sure possession was not lost.
Minutes earlier in the same passage of play Bastareaud had secured two excellent turnovers for Toulon, so despite his massive frame, he’s shown that his work rate is not an issue.
A Chris Ashton try helped Saracens to a 10-3 victory and a home Champions Cup quarter-final, while Leigh Halpenny’s boot ensured that Toulon secured a bonus point and also advanced to the quarter-final round.