Racing 92's Taofifenua marks 'unexpected' first France call-up with hat-trick in Bayonne win

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Donovan Taofifenua in action for Racing 92.
Donovan Taofifenua in action for Racing 92.
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Racing 92 youngster Donovan Taofifenua said it was a surprise to be called up to France's squad before scoring a hat-trick in Sunday's 43-17 Top 14 win at home over a second-string Bayonne.

Taofifenua, 21, who was hours earlier named in Les Bleus' set-up to prepare for next weekend's Autumn Nations Cup final against England, dazzled as the Parisians moved up to fourth in the table.

"I was told just before the match and it put a bit of pressure on me but once I was on the field I felt much better. I didn't expect it at all," he said.

"I have to make the most of the opportunity I've been given. I've always dreamed of it and it's always been a goal. It's come around very quick."

Home coach Laurent Travers welcomed back Test trio Virimi Vakatawa, Bernard Le Roux and Camille Chat after they had featured on the maximum of three international team-sheets this campaign.

Travers' Basque counterpart Yannick Bru made 12 changes from the side which beat Eben Etzebeth's Toulon last weekend as he prioritised welcoming Toulouse next Saturday.

A minute's applause was held before kick-off to pay tribute to former France winger Christophe Dominici who died aged 48 last week.

Taofifenua, who won the 2018 World Under-20 Championship, clinched his first try on the quarter-hour mark after centre Henry Chavancy had opened the scoring with a try early on.

Fellow winger Dorian Laborde and Ireland's Simon Zebo dotted down before Arthur Duhau crossed the whitewash for the visitors as the home side led comfortably by 26-10 at the break.

Taofifenua completed his hat-trick with a quarter of an hour left, having also scored shortly after the interval, to move joint-top of the league's try-scoring charts alongside Lyon's Josua Tuisova, Toulouse's Cheslin Kolbe and La Rochelle's Arthur Retiere.

Australia playmaker Kurtley Beale added a seventh touchdown for Travers' men with nine minutes remaining, ahead of next Saturday's trip to Bordeaux-Begles.

Stade Francais emotion

Later, Lyon overcame Dominici's old side Stade Francais 20-19 thanks to France prop Demba Bamba's 75th-minute effort.

Dominci's former team-mates Mathieu Bastareaud, Julien Arias and Antoine Burban were among those to shed tears ahead of kick-off as they applauded him.

The Parisians' head coach Gonzalo Quesada had Dominici's No 11 written on one sleeve and the No 10 of fellow Argentinian Diego Maradona, who also passed away last week, on his other arm.

On Saturday, South Africa's Rugby World Cup winner Kolbe marked his first game since mid-October with a try in his club's 63-18 victory over winless Agen.

Bordeaux-Begles' former All Blacks sevens winger Ben Lam claimed crossed with three minutes to play to claim a 23-22 win at Montpellier.

However, the hosts' president Mohed Altrad told RMC Sport on Sunday that Xavier Garbajosa's position as head coach was not under threat after four losses from their opening six games of the season.

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