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Eben Etzebeth outshines Springbok teammate Handre Pollard in impressive Top 14 debut

Eben Etzebeth in action for Toulon. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

World Cup-winning Springbok Eben Etzebeth had a far more successful French debut than his South African teammate Handre Pollard.

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Etzebeth marked his Top 14 debut with a fourth-minute intercept try that saw him charge home from 40 metres for the opening score in a comprehensive 41-19 victory over Clermont, the club’s eighth straight win.

Etzebeth was omnipresent throughout and received a standing ovation when he was subbed off with 10 minutes to play.

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This follows compatriot Pollard wasting eight points from the boot on his French debut, as Montpellier lost 25-29 at Racing 92.

A pinpoint Louis Carbonel kick-pass saw wing Bryce Heem cross for Toulon’s second try, while Georgian prop Beka Gigashvili burrowed over shortly after.

Clermont saw prop Rabah Slimani yellow carded but responded with a try from Sipili Falatea before Toulon closed the first-half with a bonus-point fourth try from Raphael Lakafia.

Clermont’s France wing Damien Penaud was first over the whitewash in the second period, before Toulon hit back through centre Julien Heriteau and a penalty try, the visitors having the final word with a third try through George Merrick.

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The game kicked off with an announcement from controversial Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal that he would step down at the end of the season, bringing a close to a star-spangled period for the Mediterranean club.

“I’ve tried to change the destiny of this club and I hope something of that will remain,” said Boudjellal, who financed a raft of high-profile signings including Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau, Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha and Carl Hayman as the team powered to three European titles.

– Rugby365

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B.J. Spratt 1 hours ago
Jono Gibbes' reaction to France U20s putting 55 points on New Zealand

N.Z. Under 20'‘s concede 7 tries to France Unfortunately New Zealand Rugby has lost over 25% + of players between 12-18 over the last 3-5 years, possibly more. Poor administration and a Shocking Public Perception about the NZRFU has finally caught up with these dinosaurs. 66% of N.Z. Population lives North of Hamilton and 52% of Auckland population are Asian, who would rather play football. Rugby is dying while other Sports are growing. The rules need to change around the collision/tackle but personally I think the absolute “Arrogance and Stupidity” that the NZRFU has demonstrated over the decades, “with their jobs for the boys attitude” has led to their demise. A Professional Players Union that can somehow “Disassociate itself from the “Old men with bad breath and dandruff” that is the NZRFU, will be a huge challenge. Personally I think it’s far too late to recover and rejuvenate interest in Rugby by young players. Rugby is booming in France and that’s the difference. A booming Professional domestic League. NZRFU are “Not fit for purpose” and have no idea about commercial reality My kids generation would rather their kids don’t play Rugby. Very aware of CTE and the NZRFU arrogance and stupidity, in denying its existence. Finally, the NZRFU have managed to cover up ”Numerous serious crimes over the decades, committed by players, coaches and administrators simply because the tentacles of their “Power and Influence” have reached all sectors of New Zealand Society, including the Judiciary, Politicians, Police and Big business. Denying CTE even exists is a “no brainer for them”

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