Wallabies abroad: Smith bests Pocock

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Another game, another match-winning performance from Aussie openside George Smith.

Smith and Suntory added another trophy to their 2017 cabinet, getting the better of David Pocock and Panasonic in the All-Japan Championship.

Smith didn't miss Pocock when he had the chance either, taking him out in a ruck midway through the game.

Smith’s defensive efforts in the final stages helped clinch the 15-10 win for Suntory, to install themselves as Japan’s top team.

Capped Wallabies lock Daniel Heenan scored the only try of the game in the 56th minute, for Panasonic, before the Sungoliath stood up defensively.

Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro played the final four minutes of the match for Panasonic.

TOP 14

A last-gasp penalty goal from Aussie Brock James relegated Toulon to a 23-20 loss to 2016-17 surprise packets La Rochelle, unleashing a new kind of rage from owner Mourad Boudjellal.

Boudjellal threatened to ban players from going on vacation in the upcoming Six Nations break, but coach Mike Ford talked him down to simply slashing two of the three weeks’ holiday.

A hit on Matt Giteau’s ankle was cause for concern but with the break between matches, the Wallabies veteran is expected to return in what looms as his final season with Toulon.

Matt Giteau was back in full flight against La Rochelle. Photo: AFPLiam Gill featured in the final 10 minutes for Toulon in the thriller.

Peter Kimlin’s Grenoble snatched another Top 14 upset, with a 44-22 victory over Will Genia’s Stade Francais.

Genia played all but the final five minutes of the seven-try matchup, replaced by Clement Daguin in the 75th, while Kimlin played the full match for Grenoble in their fourth win of the season.

Ben Mowen and Pau notched their eighth win from 16 matches with a 20-10 defeat of Toulouse.

It was a mixed night for the backrower, yellow-carded in the 13th minute after a deliberate obstruction of Toulouse hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini, before being substituted in the 51st.

Joe Tomane played out the full game at inside centre for Montpellier in a tough 28-25 loss to Castres.

Sitaleki Timani crossed for Clermont in a draw. Photo: AFPSitaleki Timani crossed for Clermont in a 23-all draw with Adam Ashley-Cooper’s Bordeaux.

Days after being told his contract, Ashley-Cooper played 68 minutes for the maroon men in the thriller, decided by an 81st minute Clermont penalty.

Mike Harris’s Lyon had an upset of their own against Dan Carter’s Racing 92, with the All Blacks legend limping off the ground.

Harris played the entire game at flyhalf for the Top 14 battlers, while former Red Curtis Browning played the final two minutes in the backrow.