Out of favour All Black Julian Savea returns as Toulon crash to high-scoring defeat

Julian Savea was restored to Toulon's starting lineup after a five-week career limbo but there was no happy return for the former All Blacks wing.

Savea started at second five-eighths in a Toulon team beaten 42-33 by Lyon at Lyon's Matmut Stadium on Saturday (Sunday NZ time).

The 28-year-old had spent five weeks on the sidelines since incurring the wrath of club owner Mourad Boudjellal for a sloppy performance in the February 16 loss to Agen.

Boudjellal suggested the 2015 World Cup-winning All Blacks wing was no longer welcome at the club, less than a season into a two-year deal.

Despite Boudjellal's outburst, Savea has kept his cool and buried himself into training. 

Savea was selected ahead of fellow former All Black Malakai Fekitoa and played the full 80 minutes against third-placed Lyon's former All Blacks midfielders Charlie Ngatai and Rudi Wulf.

His performance was not noted in French media summaries, which focused on the game's ill-discipline.

Four yellow cards  - two to each team - were issued between the 41st and 52nd minutes.

Toulon conceded two tries while playing with 13 men for seven minutes after former All Blacks flanker Liam Messam was dispatched to the sinbin for killing the ball in a ruck and No 8 Charles Ollivon followed three minutes later for fighting with Lyon lock Hendrik Roodt.

​Roodt and Lyon's former New Zealand sevens international Toby Arnold were also sinbinned for Lyon.

Arnold scored a 34th minute try to ensure Toulon levelled at 16-16 at halftime.

 Toulon's record have the worst disciplinary record in the Top 14 with 13 yellow cards and three reds this season.

"It's the image of our whole season. We're always missing a little something," Toulon assistant coach Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe told Agence France Press.

"We were shown two yellow cards, it's difficult to accept. We couldn't have won but we're not even taking a point home with us. It's frustrating."

Toulon, who have won three European Champions Cup titles, are 10th in the premiership after eight wins and 12 defeats. They have scored 406 points but have conceded 439.

In other Top 14 games, eight-placed Stade Francais tipped over fourth-ranked Castres 32-16, Vern Cotter's Montpellier beat Simon Mannix's Pau away, 24-19, and Perpignan won their basement battle with Grenoble, 22-16, but remain eight points behind their relegation rivals.