Racing 92’s Taofifenua marks first France call-up with hat-trick in Bayonne win


Racing 92 youngster Donovan Taofifenua celebrated his maiden France call-up with a hat-trick in Sunday’s 43-17 French Top 14 win at home over a second-string Bayonne.

Taofifenua, 21, who was hours earlier named in Les Bleus’ squad to prepare for next weekend’s Autumn Nations Cup final against England, dazzled as the Parisians moved up to fourth in the table.

Home coach Laurent Travers welcomed back Test trio Virimi Vakatawa, Bernard Le Roux and Camille Chat after they had featured on the maximum of three international team-sheets this campaign.

Travers’ Basque counterpart Yannick Bru made 12 changes from the side which beat Eben Etzebeth’s Toulon last weekend as he prioritised welcoming Toulouse next Saturday.

A minute’s applause was held before kick-off to pay tribute to former France winger Christophe Dominici who died aged 48 earlier this week.

Taofifenua, who won the 2018 World Under 20 Championship, clinched his first try of proceedings on the quarter-hour mark after centre Henry Chavancy had opened the scoring with a try early on.

Fellow winger Dorian Laborde and Ireland’s Simon Zebo dotted down before Arthur Duhau crossed the whitewash for the visitors as the home side led comfortably by 26-10 at the break.

Taofifenua completed his hat-trick with a quarter of an hour left, having also scored shortly after the interval, to move joint-top of the league’s try-scoring charts alongside Lyon’s Josua Tuisova, Toulouse’s Cheslin Kolbe and La Rochelle’s Arthur Retiere.

Australia playmaker Kurtley Beale added a seventh touchdown for Travers’ men with nine minutes remaining, ahead of next Saturday’s trip to Bordeaux-Begles.

Later, Lyon host Dominci’s former side Stade Francais in the final game of the weekend.

On Saturday, South Africa’s Rugby World Cup-winner Kolbe marked his first game since mid-October with a try in his club’s 63-18 victory over winless bottom outfit Agen.

France 24

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