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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Whitehaven defeat overshadowed by Benson horror injury

Toulouse 38 Whitehaven 12: A beautiful, warm night in Southern France turned sour for Whitehaven when their defeat by Toulouse was overshadowed by a serious injury to young full-back Craig Benson.

Whitehaven Benson photo
Craig Benson

The ex-Kells player was in the act of saving a try with a brave tackle when his jaw was shattered and he was immediately taken to hospital. The result took second place to worry over the injury.

Despite valiant efforts Haven were thoroughly outgunned by the mixture of French and Australians that make up the Toulouse side.

Haven had two veteran players making their debuts for the season, Howard Hill and Tane Manihera, while Rob Jackson returned after a month on the sidelines with a lower back injury.

The visitors were without Carl Rudd, who is awaiting surgery for a fifth time on a knee injury, while prop Marc Jackson, who is due to go under the knife imminently, also with a knee problem, featured off the bench.

Half-backs Nathan Wynn and Constant Villegas tormented the Haven defence and both scored tries, along with centre Damien Couturier, before Haven could reply through hooker Graeme Mattinson with a short range effort.

A bizarre incident occurred when second-row Spencer Miller was on the end of a superb Haven break but mistook the dead-ball line for the try line and the effort was ruled out.

Further tries from captain Eric Anselme – who was later sin-binned – Villegas again and Mathieu Griffi saw Toulouse home.

Winger Ade Adebisi raced 50 metres to register Haven’s second try in the closing moments.

It was not a night to remember in terms of the scoreline for the Cumbrians but everyone’s thoughts were with Benson, who has taken the No 1 jersey this season following Gary Broadbent’s departure.

The large Haven contingent of travelling spectators made a great deal of noise throughout the game and thoroughly enjoyed their first visit to Toulouse.

Man of the match for the Cumbrians was the tireless Kyle Amor, who started at prop for only the second time.

The defeat was Haven’s fourth in a row, and they will hope for a return to winning ways in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Thursday night when their former boss Paul Cullen returns to the Recre in charge of Widnes Vikings.

MATCH FACTS

Haven: Benson, Adebisi, R Jackson, McAvoy, Calvert, McNally, Manihera, Amor, Mattinson, Edmondson, Miller, Gorski, Joe. Subs: Theoharous, Hill, McDonald, M Jackson

Toulouse: Rory Bromley, Teli Pelo, Sebastien Planas, Damien Couturier, Joris Canton, Constant Villegas, Nathan Wynn, Olivier Pramil, Martin Mitchell, Mathieu Griffi, Timothy Wynn, Eric Anselme, Sylvain Houles. Subs: Nicholas Faure, Antoni Maria, Mathieu Almarcha, Cedric Gay

Attendance: 2,300

Star Man: Kyle Amor

 

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