Umaga return fails to halt Toulon slump - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Umaga return fails to halt Toulon slump

21/02/2009 12:32:24 PM Comments (0)

All Blacks great Tana Umaga returned to action for the first time in 18 months on Friday, but the veteran centre was unable to halt Toulon's worrying slide towards relegation from the French top flight.

Stade Francais, featuring former Australian rugby league star Mark Gasnier, beat Umaga's struggling big-spenders 22-12 to move to the summit of the Top 14 table ahead of Toulouse's clash with Clermont on Sunday.

Toulon manager Umaga, 35, was playing his first match since August last year when he featured for Wellington in the Super 14, but he struggled to impose himself and was replaced after 50 minutes with his side trailing 16-0.

Stade scored their only try in the 23rd minute when centre Mathieu Bastareaud finished off a fine three-man move, which had involved Beauxis and Mark Gasnier, and which had also left Umaga on the floor.

Umaga is coming out of retirement to help the club he has managed since hanging up his boots in June 2007 to ensure their top flight status.

Big-spending Toulon, whose side includes Umaga's compatriot Sonny Bill Williams, are struggling in 12th in the Top 14 ahead of Friday's fixture at second-placed Stade Francais.

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