Joe can’t help big-spenders

Joe van Niekerk scored for Toulon, but his side were hammered 42-20 by Montauban.

If it wasn’t for three late tries, including Van Niekerk’s, an even bigger hiding would have been on the cards for high-spending Toulon as they were down 30-3 at the break. They now languish 11th in the Top 14 and pressure is building on coach Tana Umaga to produce the goods after his forwards coach, Jean-Jacques Crenca, was fired earlier in the week.

“This week has been difficult,” conceded Umaga. “However, I believe we showed what we could do in the final 20 minutes.

“I don’t feel any more under threat than I did before the match. That is part and parcel of a coach’s life,” said Umaga.

Former Wallabies mentor John Connolly has meanwhile been recruited by club owner Mourad Boudjellal to look into Toulon’s problems.

In other French action, former Cheetahs fullback Phillip Burger scored for Perpignan as they beat Mont-de-Marsan 31-7. Perpignan are now in third spot, just one point off joint-leaders Toulouse and Stade Francais.