9 May 2009

Umaga's Toulon ensure they will not be relegated

1:16 pm on 9 May 2009

Tana Umaga's Toulon have ensured they will remain in the top flight of french club rugby next season after pushing fellow strugglers Dax through the relegation trapdoor with a 22-12 win.

The win is likely to to see English first five Johnny Wilkinson sign with Toulon. His signing was linked to the condition that Touolon remained in the top 14 competition.

Toulon started the season as potential title challengers. Instead, a side including former All Black flanker Jerry Collins - cousin of coach Tana Umaga - and former Springbok star Joe van Niekerk, found themselves trying to stave off disaster.

The side's coach, former All Black captain Umaga, was re-introduced in to the playing ranks and league star Sonny Bill Williams was brought in to the team.

Former French star Philippe Saint Andre, current director of rugby at Sale, takes over as the team's main coach next season.

With Mont-de-Marsan having already dropped into the second tier Dax were hoping to force their way out of trouble with a home success ahead of the final week of the campaign.

Bourgoin and Castres, two other struggling sides, will meet Saturday - but it was the fate of Toulon which many fans were eyeing well beyond the southern town after the club spent heavily in the close season ahead of what was supposed to be a potential title challenge.