Thursday, September 15, 2011
The Rugby World Cup is definitely the biggest thing happening on the world stage at the moment, but try telling that to French Top 14 supporters. They packed out Stade Municipal de Toulouse on the weekend for what turned out to be an absolute classic.
All Black outcast Luke McAlister has started a new chapter in his career with Toulouse, and by all accounts, its going swimmingly. The former Auckland Blues and Sales Sharks player guided his team to a brilliant 41-36 win over Racing Metro, with McAlister himself playing an integral role. He also kicked a 63m penalty.
A personal tally of 21 points and commanding flyhalf play led to Racing Metro's first defeat of the season. Tries were scored for Toulouse by captain Yannick Nyanga, Clement Pointrenaud, while Yannick Jauzion scored two.
While France are over in New Zealand looking to achieve their best ever World Cup result, a win, there are still a host of the highest quality of players plying their trade in the Top 14. And that's just the locals.
Nyanga, who himself was outstanding, was full of praise for McAlister, who wasn't included in an All Blacks squad jam-packed with talented backs. "Luke? He's a world class player," Nyanga said.
"At Stade, we've always had good fly-halves. We were very good there. He launches our game-plan perfectly and is always moving us forward. It's always easy to play with a 10 like that," he added.
Below are extended highlights of the match (playlist), coming to just under 20 minutes in total.