Connolly joins Sonny Bill at Toulon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Connolly joins Sonny Bill at Toulon

02/11/2008 10:35:22 AM Comments (0)

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly has been hired by crisis-ridden Toulon, the French rugby union club of ex-NRL superstar Sonny Bill Williams.

The former Stade Francais and Australia boss has been invited by Toulon's millionaire owner Mourad Boudjellal to look into why the star-studded club are not living up to their potential.

The decision comes after Toulon's disappointing return to the elite division suffered another blow on Friday with a 42-20 hammering by Montauben.

It also follows the sacking of forwards coach Jean-Jacques Crenca last Monday, two days after a 21-17 defeat by Castres.

Boudjellal said then he was trying to "understand why things were not working" and would be hiring someone of international stature to help.

Connolly is expected to arrive in Toulon on Monday and will start talking to players and staff the following week.

Toulon now sit third last on the Top 14 table with just two wins from nine starts.

The big-spending newcomers conceded six tries to Montauben, including three to Fijian flier Vilimoni Delasau.

But Toulon coach Tana Umaga refused to accept that his days were numbered.

"This week has been difficult," conceded Umaga. "However, I believe we showed what we could do in the final 20 minutes.

"I don't feel any more under threat than I did before the match. That is part and parcel of a coach's life," added the former All Black great.

Ex-Bulldog Williams is expected back in two weeks after suffering a leg fracture early in the season.

Meanwhile, champions Toulouse went top of the table after they edged Brive 21-15 while former leaders Stade Francais lost their second successive game, 22-6 to Clermont.

Toulouse, who opted not to hand fly-half Frederic Michalak his first appearance since he returned from a stint in South Africa this week, lead Ewen McKenzie's Stade - who they beat last Saturday - on points difference.

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