Ailing rugby giants Toulon part company with coach Collazo

Three-time European champions Toulon parted company with head coach Patrice Collazo on Tuesday after a desperate start to their Top 14 campaign, which has yielded just two victories in eight matches.

The four-time French champions said in a statement the decision to bring the curtain down on Collazo’s three years in the post was by mutual consent.

The final straw was Sunday’s 39-6 whipping by Collazo’s former club, La Rochelle, which left them second from bottom and just two points better off than Perpignan.

Collazo had held his hands up after the thrashing.

“We were neither present in the lineout, nor the scrum and not prepared for the physical confrontation,” said Collazo.

His cause this season has not been helped by injuries to key players such as France captain Charles Ollivon, French international scrumhalf Baptiste Serin and South African star Cheslin Kolbe.

Collazo established his reputation in guiding unfashionable La Rochelle into the Top 14 in 2014.

However, the former Toulouse and Gloucester prop – capped once by France – failed to transfer that success to Toulon.

He did steer them to the European Challenge Cup final in 2020 but was unable to deliver a French title, missing out on a place in the end- of-season playoffs.

Their last appearance in the final dates back to before he arrived, in 2017 when they lost to Clermont.

Irishman James Coughlan, the defence coach, will prepare the team for Saturday’s Top 14 clash with third-from-bottom Biarritz.

© Agence France-Presse

Photo: Hugo Pfeiffer/Icon Sport via Getty Images

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