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Toulon toil to victory at the Rec

A fortnight after narrowly edging out Bath Rugby in Toulon, the three-time European Champions repeated the act at the Recreation Ground with a 14-19 victory. 

Bath had the opportunity to draw first blood shortly after the starting whistle, but their penalty kick at goal came up short. A minute later it was Toulon fullback James O'Connor doing the honours for his team as Bath were penalised at the breakdown. 0-3. 

O'Connor then doubled Toulon's lead with a penalty from out on the right. 0-6 became 3-6 shortly thereafter as French scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde illegally dislodged the ball from opposite number Chris Cook's hands in front of the Toulon posts; Ford notching up Bath's first points from the tee. 

As the first quarter reached its close, Toulon were in possession inside Bath's 22 and looking dangerous. It was England international Steffon Armitage, after an overhead pass from Toulon captain Jocelino Suta, who made good on the threat as he powered over for the try. O'Connor missed the conversion.

Half-Time: Bath Rugby 6-11 Toulon

The Bath Rugby archivists might be making room for the team's 45th-minute try as fantastic vision and passing from Jonathan Joseph, then Kyle Eastmond, in Toulon's 22 put Horacio Agulla into space. The former Pumas winger darted forward and was brought down just shy of the try line, only for Anthony Watson to snatch the ball from the base of the ruck and dive over.

Ford was unable to convert that excellent team effort, but with the scores at 11-11, he made amends (and then some) with a penalty in the 50th minute, Bath taking the lead for the first time in the match. 14-11. 

Almost on the hour, Toulon hoisted the ball into Bath's 22, only for both them and Bath to fumble possession. Regardless of the errors, it was the opportunist Bryan Habana who took hold of the ball to run over in the corner for Toulon's second try. O'Connor missed from the tight angle. 14-16. 

There were moments between then and the final whistle that might have offered Bath a way back into the match, but it was replacement Eric Escande's 77th-minute penalty kick that sealed the win for Toulon. 

Full Time: Bath Rugby 14-19 Toulon

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