Wallabies Abroad: Higginbotham stars in losing side

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

There were some heartbreaking losses for capped Wallabies overseas last weekend in France.

TOP 14

Liam Gill made it through his first Top 14 match unscathed, playing 78 minutes in Toulon’s first win of the season.

Toulon overcame two late yellow cards to hang on to the win, which came largely due to the boot of Leigh Halfpenny, with the Welsh back scoring 17 of the side’s 22 points in the victory.

Mike Harris’s Lyon debut lasted 51 minutes, in a 29-16 defeat at the hands of Dan Carter’s Racing 92 side.

Leigh Halfpenny starred for Toulon. Photo: AFPHarris played at outside centre for his new team, replaced in the 51st minute by Thibaut Regard, as their opponents scored four tries to Lyon’s one.

Luke Jones had another full match for Bordeaux, in the second round of the Top 14, as they went to Toulouse by five points.

Nic White and Jesse Mogg started for Montpellier in what was another agonising loss for the Aussies in France, losing to Clermont 22-26..

White started at scrumhalf and played just 47 minutes in the loss, replaced by Benoit Paillaugue, while Mogg played the full game at fullback.

TOP LEAGUE

Scott Higginbotham was solid for the Green Rockets. Photo; NEC Green RocketsScott Higginbotham imposed himself in defence for his Japanese side NEC Green Rockets, despite a narrow loss to Ricoh Black Rams, making 13 tackles, winning one turnover and stealing a lineout in his return from injury.

The Green Rockets outscored the Black Rams three tries to two but were undone by a late drop goal that kept Ricoh at arm’s length.

Digby Ioane’s Honda Heat went down to newly-promoted team Munakata Sanix in their opening round match, with Ioane playing out the entire 80 minutes.

Wycliff Palu’s Japanese debut went to script, with the number eight coming on in the 55th minute, helping the Toyota Verblitz to a 39-18 win over Toyota Shuttles.

The Verblitz scored three opening half tries to give themselves an early advantage as  they romped home to a dominant victory.

Suntory took a thrilling win over Ant Fainga’a’s Kintetsu Liners on Friday night, with a 14-13 victory.

Faingaa and former Reds teammate Chris Feauai-Sautia teamed up in the centres in the tight loss, their first matches for the Liners and the latter’s return from an ankle injury.

Defending champions Panasonic Wild Knights had a shock loss to Yamaha on the same night, with capped Wallabies lock Daniel Heenan starting in the second row.

The Pro12 and English Premiership kick off this weekend.

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