Montpellier's Timoci Nagusa became the first Fijian to play 200 games for a French club
Paris (AFP) - Former Fiji winger Timoci Nagusa celebrated his 200th Montpellier game by scoring in a 33-22 victory over French Top 14 champions Toulouse on Saturday.
Nagusa, who retired from international rugby in January, seven months before the ongoing World Cup, crossed in the final 10 minutes after fellow winger Gabriel Ngandebe dotted down twice in the first half.
“I’m happy to have scored in my 200th game. But I’m especially happy to have won. The squad needed it,” Nagusa told sports daily l’Equipe.
“Not everything was perfect, but we didn’t let it unsettle us,” the 32-year-old added.
Thomas Ramos, who dropped out of France’s World Cup squad due to injury on October 4, kicked 17 points as the 20-time league winners, without more than 10 players due their World Cup commitments, suffered their fifth defeat of the campaign.
The first points of proceedings came as fly-halves Anthony Bouthier and Ramos kicked penalty goals within the opening 18 minutes.
Bouthier added his second to hand his side a three-point lead after a quarter of the game.
Cameroon winger Ngandebe crossed for his first try after 24 minutes after South African Henry Immelman’s break.
The winger, who moved to France aged nine, claimed his second after another Bouthier penalty and the hosts led comfortably 20-3 at the break.
The visitors started the second half stronger and South African-born Maks van Dyk, who received a French passport on Wednesday after cheekily asking President Emmanuel Macron during June’s final, was held up on the try line after 45 minutes.
Five minutes later, former South Africa sevens international Werner Kok halved the deficit sliding in the corner.
Ramos slotted the touchline conversion to make it 20-10.
Bouthier, Immelman and Ramos traded penalty goals and the home side led 26-19 with 12 minutes to play as the visitors’ Florian Verhaeghe was shown a yellow card for charging into a ruck with his shoulder.
Nagusa made sure of Montpellier’s third victory of the season with eight minutes to go with a one-handed touchdown in the corner for his 92nd try for the club.
He is the first Fijian to play 200 club games in France.
Elsewhere, Bordeaux-Begles failed to go above unbeaten Lyon to the top of the table, suffering a heavy 30-9 loss to promoted Brive.
Racing 92 remain second from bottom after slipping to a 12-6 loss at La Rochelle, who moved into fifth after a second straight win.
The hosts came out on top in an attritional encounter which did not see a try, with 37-year-old Australian fly-half Brock James kicking four penalties.