Toulouse bring back World Cup stars in win over Perpignan

Antoine Dupont runs at the Perpignan defence on his return to Top 14 action with Toulouse (Lionel BONAVENTURE)
Antoine Dupont runs at the Perpignan defence on his return to Top 14 action with Toulouse (Lionel BONAVENTURE)

Toulouse welcomed back more of their World Cup stars and raced to a huge lead but were made to sweat by last-place Perpignan before winning 43-34 in the Top 14 on Saturday.

A second-half wobble cost the Top 14 champions a bonus point as they moved up to fifth in the table.

Neither Pau, who started the weekend in first and beat Bordeaux-Begles 20-11, nor Stade Francais, who gained a rare win in Lyon, 36-32, collected a bonus point.

However, Stade moved into top spot thanks to their high-scoring win.

In Toulouse, Italian star Ange Capuozzo touched down for the home team after 19 minutes.

France's Anthony Jelonch, on his first appearance since the World Cup, added a second and two more World Cup players, France's Melvyn Jaminet and Wallaby Richie Arnold, were among the home team's five first-half try scorers.

Thomas Ramos, playing in his first game since having a conversion blocked as France were eliminated by one point by South Africa in the World Cup quarter-final, booted 11 points as the hosts led 31-6 at half-time.

Ramos was replaced by France's World Cup captain Antoine Dupont after 47 minutes.

Perpignan scored with two tries in the first nine minutes of the second half.

Samoan World Cup player Charlie Faumuina responded in the 50th minute for Toulouse.

Perpignan centre Alivereti Duguivalu received a yellow for elbowing Dupont, who suffered a broken cheekbone during the World Cup.

But with 14 men the visitors scored twice in next seven minutes.

Toulouse stiffened but could not score the try needed to regain a bonus point.

Scrum coach Virgile Lacombe suggested that the team lacked cohesion because they were working the World Cup players back into the lineup.

"We shipped 28 points in the second half and that's far too many," he said. "We need to work and spend time together."

Flanker Francois Cros confessed to mixed feelings as he made his first start since the World Cup.

"It's a win that leaves us with some regrets, because we probably lost a point," he said.

"I'm very happy to have been able to play again with Toulouse to get rid of the disappointment of the World Cup."

In other games, Clermont won 20-17 at Montpellier and La Rochelle edged Bayonne 18-15. Castres are in third after easing past Oyonnax 39-11.