Away wins in the French Top 14 are rare, but the Bernard Jackman and Mike Prendergast coached Grenoble are all about ignoring history and more about creating their own. Adding to this season’s breakout success, the Irish influenced Grenoble side has become the first team to win in Toulon since January 2013.
The stunning victory was sealed with a late intercept try by winger Alipate Ratini, who picked off Jonny Wilkinson’s pass to streak over from the halfway line. The Fijian dotted down under the sticks, allowing Julien Caminati to convert and ensure success.
Scrum-half Valentin Courrent kicked four penalties, while out-half Fabian Gengenbacher slotted a smart drop-goal from distance. The win was otherwise built on superb defence, the area that Jackman leads in his current role as Defence and Collisions Coach.
Now with Prendergast stepping up to the role of Backs coach for 2014, the Irish influence looks set to continue. Perhaps the underdog mentality that for so long was a part of the Irish pysche has found a home in the foot of the Alps. Grenoble appear to have something of a Munster like drive never to roll over and give in, something shown in this famous late victory.
With 10 games remaining in the Top 14 season, Grenoble are the surprise team as they sit 5th in the league and are undoubted play off contenders and Heninken Cup hopefuls for next year.