'Very good' Eben Etzebeth returns in Toulon's win at Racing

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Eben Etzebeth after a European Rugby Challenge Cup match between Toulon and London Irish at the Madejski Stadium in Reading, England on 14 December 2019.
Eben Etzebeth after a European Rugby Challenge Cup match between Toulon and London Irish at the Madejski Stadium in Reading, England on 14 December 2019.
Harry Trump/Getty Images

Toulon coach Patrice Collazo praised South Africa's Rugby World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth after he returned from concussion in Sunday's 29-23 victory at Racing 92 in the French Top 14.

Etzebeth, who won the last of his 85 Springboks caps in the 2019 final, missed more than four weeks of action after suffering a head knock in the European Cup win over Sale on 12 December.

"He played at the level we expect. Tonight I saw a very good Eben Etzebeth, like I saw very good French internationals and very good non-internationals," Collazo told reporters post-match.

"When there are individual performances on a collective basis like that, a team performance follows," he added.

The visitors move up to fourth in the standings, three points behind the third-placed Parisians who lost for a second time at home this campaign.

Racing, the 2016 champions, made eight changes from the win at Clermont two weeks ago as Australia fullback Kurtley Beale was among those to return.

Etzebeth's selection was one of six changes by Collazo as they eyed just a second success on the road this season.

The away side deservedly led 17-3 after an entertaining first quarter as Swann Rebbadj and Baptise Serin made the most of their early dominance.

Virimi Vakatawa, one of 14 members of France's Six Nations squad in the teams at the La Defense Arena, wasted a golden chance to score for Racing after Gabin Villiere knocked the ball out his hands while in the opposition in-goal area after 21 minutes.

Vakatawa's outfit led 20-17 with a minute of the half to go as Wenceslas Lauret and Teddy Thomas crossed before Louis Carbonel kicked a penalty to bring the teams level at the break.

Maxine Machenaud and flyhalf Carbonel, also in les Bleus' set-up for the Six Nations, traded penalties and Collazo's men led 29-23 with five minutes left.

The Champions Cup finalists pressed on in the closing moments but their scrum, 10 metres out with less than three minutes to go, was penalised.

Scrumhalf Serin cleared his lines for the win, a first win at Racing since 2012.

Saint-Andre's 'situation'

Earlier, Montpellier centre Arthur Vincent said his side were in trouble after Tonga's Ma'amai Vaipulu scored late in Castres' 21-19 win at the GGL Stadium.

Substitute back-rower Vaipulu crossed with eight minutes to play to leave the billionaire backed Montpellier, who replaced sacked Xavier Garbajosa with former France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre earlier this month, in the relegation play-off spot and without a victory since December 4.

"Obviously there's worry when you lose again, especially at home," France's Vincent told Canal+.

"It's a very serious situation, and we all know that.

"We have to keep a good attitude, it's difficult. We're not dead yet, we still have to fight."

On Saturday, Jean-Pascal Barraque's first penalty goal in more than four years took Clermont to fourth in the table with a 16-16 draw at Bordeaux-Begles.

Elsewhere, Australia full-back Jesse Mogg made his first appearance since April 2019 after recovering from a shin injury in Pau's 23-22 win at Bayonne.

French Top 14 results:

Sunday

Montpellier 19-21 Castres

Racing92 23-29 Toulon

Saturday

Bordeaux-Begles 16-16 Clermont

Bayonne 22-23 Pau

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Lions 362/10
Dolphins 375/10
loading... Live
Titans 263/10
Knights 385/8
loading... Live
Cape Cobras 513/6
Warriors 137/7
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
41% - 12535 votes
Cricket
12% - 3748 votes
Football
19% - 5684 votes
Athletics
3% - 792 votes
Boxing
1% - 302 votes
Cycling
2% - 713 votes
Golf
5% - 1557 votes
Motorsport
8% - 2555 votes
Tennis
3% - 1060 votes
Water sports
1% - 276 votes
American sports
1% - 391 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 1023 votes
Vote