Monday 11 December 2017

Jackman's Grenoble send shockwaves through Top 14

Bernard Jackman
Bernard Jackman
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Grenoble stunned reigning Heineken Cup champions and French powerhouses Toulon on Saturday after a last-gasp converted try saw them claim a shock 22-21 victory on Toulon's home patch in the top 14.

Fijian winger Alipate Ratini capitalised on a rare mistake from Jonny Wilkinson when he collected the fly-half's loose pass and ran half the length of the pitch before touching down under the posts with just two minutes left. Julien Caminati added the crucial conversion as Grenoble held their nerve to see out the remainder of the game.

A total of 21 points from the boot of Wilkinson looked to have handed Toulon an expected home win, but Grenoble scrum-half Valentin Courrent kicked four penalties, while Fabian Gengenbacher fired over an excellent drop-goal before Ratini's late try.

Current forwards coach and former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman is poised to take over from Fabrice Landreau as head coach of Grenoble next season and with skills coach Mike Prendergast also in line for a promotion from skills to backs coach, the Irish pair are inheriting a club that is on the rise.

The win moved Grenoble into fifth place in the table and leaves them just one point behind Toulon.

Speculation has since mounted over the future of Toulon coach Bernard Laporte after the club's owner Mourad Boudjellal admitted that he was unsure "whether or not he will be at training on Monday."

Toulon's defeat to Grenoble was their first at the Stade Mayol in over a year which makes the achievement of Jackman and co all the more impressive.

Irish Independent

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