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Savea scores as Toulon start campaign with Agen trouncing

Elsewhere in the Top 14, Racing were stunned at home by promoted Bayonne.

Savea in action against Agen on Saturday.
Savea in action against Agen on Saturday.
Image: Icon Sport via Getty Images

FORMER ALL BLACKS WINGER Julian Savea scored as Toulon crushed Agen 44-25 in the opening round of the French Top 14 campaign.

Savea, who failed to score until three months into last season, was joined by former Georgia forward Mamuka Gorgodze and former France youth international Julien Heriteau on the scoreboard, who both claimed doubles.

The 29-year-old’s future at Stade Felix Mayol had been in doubt last year after owner Mourad Boudjellal froze him out following a series of underwhelming displays.

He is likely to see more game time this season playing, unusually at centre, as former France midfielder Mathieu Bastareaud has left the club and Australian Duncan Paia’aua ruled out for several weeks with an Achilles injury although England’s Ben Te’o as arrived as Rugby World Cup cover.

Elsewhere, France winger Noa Nakaitaci scored twice as Lyon hammered Stade France 43-9.

Fijian-born Nakaitaci, who won the last of his 17 caps in March 2017, dotted down in both halves as last season’s losing semi-finalists began the campaign by thrashing the billionaire-backed Parisians.

Promoted Bayonne claimed a shock victory at ambitious Racing 92, overcoming the capital city outfit 24-17. Simon Zebo came off the bench as a second-half replacement.

Former All Blacks out-half Aaron Cruden missed two penalties as Montpellier lost 26-25 to 2018 champions Castres.

The first red card of the campaign was shown to Pau’s Mathieu Ugena for charging with his arm as the flanker’s side beat promoted Brive 33-14.

On Sunday, losing finalists Clermont host La Rochelle in Ronan O’Gara’s first game in charge of the visitors.

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- © AFP, 2019 

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