Mon, Jan 06, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Last-gasp win by Grenoble reduces their coach to tears

AFP, PARIS

Grenoble’s Alipate Ratini runs with the ball during their French Top 14 match against Toulon at the Mayol stadium in Toulon, France, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

An intercept try to Fiji winger Alipate Ratini two minutes from full-time, converted by Julien Caminati, handed Grenoble a dramatic 22-21 victory over Toulon in Top 14 action on Saturday.

The last-gasp defeat left Toulon’s outspoken president, Mourad Boudjellal, wondering if coach Bernard Laporte would even be at training today, such was the latter’s disappointment at the result.

“We’re prize idiots,” Boudjellal said after his side’s first home defeat in almost a year. “We’re no longer European champions, nor of anything else. We’re no longer talking about first or second place, but to finish in the top six in the Top 14.”

The European champions looked to have sealed the win thanks to seven Jonny Wilkinson penalties that had given them a 21-15 lead at the 78th minute.

However, Grenoble have proven themselves to be doughty fighters this season and they duly stuck to their task this time around to claim their first victory at Toulon since 1999.

When Johnny Wilkinson fired out a late pass on the left wing with an overlap begging, Ratini read it perfectly, came out of the line and claimed the ball.

There was to be no catching the former Fiji 100m sprint champion, and Caminati kicked the decisive conversion from in front of the posts.

In the build-up to the interception, referee Laurent Cardona had indicated that he was playing advantage for Toulon, though that did look to have run its course by the time Wilkinson flung his pass.

Grenoble had four Valentin Courrent penalties and a Fabien Gengenbacher drop-goal to their credit before the dramatic denouement.

Toulon threw the ball around in a desperate attempt to get out of their own half following Ratini’s late effort, but replacement forward Florian Faure caught hold of Delon Armitage with the full-back isolated, forcing the turnover and causing Grenoble coach Fabrice Landreau to burst into tears.

In other matches, Racing-Metro went down 0-6 to Oyonnax, Stade Francais beat Biarritz 18-6, Perpignan had a 20-8 victory over Bayonne, and Brive defeated Montpellier 15-9.

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