Perpignan kickstart season with win over Toulouse

Perpignan put their poor start to the Top 14 campaign behind them on Saturday as they humbled champions Toulouse 34-20, grabbing an offensive bonus point in the process.

Perpignan's Welsh star James Hook contributed nine points with his boot while Scottish international flanker Alasdair Strokosch scored one of their tries in front of a half full stadium in Barcelona.

Perpignan had stunned Toulouse with a fiery first-half display that saw them lead 27-6 at half-time and although Toulouse came back in the second-half they had left themselves far too much to do.

Victory was only Perpignan's second in five games while defeat sees Toulouse trail leaders Toulon - who beat Montpellier 32-25 on Friday to make it five wins from five games - by seven points.

The Perpignan players' joy was muted as it was revealed that their Samoan bus driver, former rugby league player Paul Okesene, had suffered a heart attack in the car park and died later in hospital, aged 44.

"A victory which in other circumstances would have been celebrated mightily, but it is sadness which has taken over," said Perpignan president Paul Goze.

"Rugby is a match, but it is only a sport, here we are talking about the life of a man."

Biarritz lost their 100 percent record when they went down 28-13 at Castres for whom South African scrum-half Rory Kockott finished with 16 points from a converted try and three penalties.

Promoted Mont-de-Marsan suffered a fifth loss in five matches in a 14-6 home defeat to Clermont.


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