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Toulouse, La Rochelle, Castres, Racing 92 and Agen managed to secure wins in a pulsating day of Top 14 action on Saturday.

Results 

Saturday

Toulouse 38-37 Bordeaux-Bègles
Lyon 15-19 La Rochelle
Oyonnax 19-32 Castres
Racing 92 23-20 Pau
Agen 26-24 Toulon

Toulouse 38-37 Bordeaux-Bègles

Joe Tekori powered over late on as Toulouse continued their fine home form by claiming a dramatic 38-37 triumph over Bordeaux-Bègles.

Bordeaux have struggled on their travels this season and looked set for another disappointing away performance after going 24-3 down early on.

Ugo Mola’s men were rampant, touching down three times through Cheslin Kolbe, Sofiane Guitoune and Guillaume Marchand. Thomas Ramos also kicked three conversions and a penalty in a dominant first quarter for the hosts.

UBB could have easily folded but what proceeded was arguably their best 20 minutes of the season. Adrien Pelissie began the comeback by crossing the whitewash from close range before quick-fire efforts by Yann Lesgourgues and Metuisela Talebula remarkably levelled matters.

Guitoune was then yellow carded for a high tackle and, with Toulouse down to 14 men, the visitors scored twice more via Jean-Pascal Barraque’s try and Matthieu Jalibert’s penalty.

Despite Bègles’ 31-point burst, the home side hit back at the start of the second period when Kolbe scampered clear.

Although Jacques Brunel’s outfit extended their buffer when Jalibert was once again successful off the tee, Toulouse snatched the win via Tekori’s dramatic late touchdown.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries:
 Kolbe 2, Guitoune, Marchand, Tekori
Cons: Ramos 5
Pen: Ramos
Yellow Card: Guitoune

For Bordeaux-Bègles:
Tries: Pelissie, Lesgourgues, Talebula, Barraque
Cons: Jalibert 4
Pens: Jalibert 3

Lyon 15-19 La Rochelle
Matmut Stadium de Gerland, Lyon

Alexi Bales scored the decisive try as La Rochelle won the battle of two in-form sides thanks to a 19-15 victory over league leaders Lyon.

It was an unsurprisingly tight affair with neither outfit wanting to give too much away and, as a result, the opening period was dominated by the kicking of the respective fly-halves.

Frederic Michalak and Brock James traded two penalties apiece as the teams went into the break level at 6-6.

Michalak and James found the target again early in the second period before Lyon’s stand-off gave the hosts a three-point buffer going into the final half-hour.

The game needed a spark to break the deadlock and it came from Bales as the scrum-half scampered across the whitewash.

Although Michalak reduced the arrears from the tee, La Rochelle’s stand-off completed the win with a penalty seven minutes from time.

The scorers:

For Lyon:
Pens: Michalak 5

For La Rochelle:
Try: Bales
Con: James
Pens: James 4

 

Oyonnax 19-32 Castres
Stade Charles-Mathon, Oyonnax

Oyonnax’s atrocious form continued as they succumbed to yet another loss after going down 32-19 to Castres.

Adrien Buononato’s men have struggled this season with their last – and only – win coming in round three against Agen.

Since then, six successive defeats have followed and this was arguably their most concerning. In previous games, they have often been competitive before the break but they were outplayed in the opening 24 minutes.

They found themselves 20-6 down thanks to converted tries by Mathieu Babillot and Julien Dumora, while Benjamin Urdapilleta added two penalties.

Patrick Sobela did get one score back when the visitors were reduced to 14 men following Dumora’s yellow card, but Urdapilleta kicked further three-pointers to keep them at arm’s length.

Although Ben Botica reduced the arrears with a couple of successful efforts off the tee, Castres’ stand-off completed the win late on.

The scorers:

For Oyonnax:
Try: Sobela
Con: Botica
Pens: Botica 4

For Castres:
Tries: Babillot, Dumora
Cons: Urdapilleta 2
Pens: Urdapilleta 6
Yellow Card: Dumora

 

Racing 92 23-20 Pau
Stade Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes

Marc Andreu’s dramatic late try helped Racing 92 snatch a crucial 23-20 victory over fellow play-off chasers Pau.

It was once again an unconvincing performance from the Parisians, who fell behind early on when Colin Slade kicked a penalty. Although Maxime Machenaud levelled proceedings, Wenceslas Lauret was yellow carded and the visiting stand-off added his second off the tee.

Despite being down to 14 men, the hosts dealt with the sin-bin period impressively and actually took the lead at the break when influential lock Leone Nakarawa touched down.

Slade and Machenaud traded three-pointers at the start of the second period before Frank Halai’s try regained the advantage for Simon Mannix’s men.

Pau then extended their buffer via two Slade penalties and appeared set to record a valuable win.

That was until Racing increased the intensity late on, pressure which resulted in yellow cards for Conrad Smith and Charly Malie.

Shorn of two players, the visitors failed to cope and Andreu rewarded the hosts’ endeavour by crossing the whitewash late on.

The scorers:

For Racing:
Tries: Nakarawa, Andreu
Cons: Machenaud, Lambie
Pens: Machenaud 3
Yellow Card: Lauret

For Pau:
Try: Halai
Pens: Slade 5
Yellow Cards: Smith, Malie

Agen 26-24 Toulon
Stade Armandie, Agen

Chris Ashton’s hat-trick was in vain as Agen recorded a remarkable 26-24 triumph over Toulon for just their second win of the season.

The former England international started in the unfamiliar position of full-back for the 2014 champions but he immediately made an impact, touching down after seven minutes.

However, the hosts were impressive throughout and scored twice in quick succession via Denis Marchois and George Tilsley.

Although Fabien Galthie’s men responded through Ma’a Nonu and Ashton, a brace of penalties either side of the interval from Jake McIntyre gave Agen a 23-19 advantage going into the final quarter.

Toulon were under pressure and, despite Ashton once again displaying his predatory instincts to regain their lead, Hugo Verdu kicked a late three-pointer as the promoted outfit secured an outstanding victory.

The scorers:

For Agen:
Tries: Marchois, Tilsley
Cons: McIntyre 2
Pens: McIntyre 3, Verdu

For Toulon:
Tries: Ashton 3, Nonu
Cons: McAlister 2

Brive moved off the foot of the Top 14 table when they claimed a 20-19 win against Stade Français at Stade Amédée Domenech on Sunday.

In a tough and uncompromising encounter, Stade Français outscored their hosts three tries to two but accurate goalkicking from Gaetan Germain secured victory for the home side and he eventually finished with a 10-point haul courtesy of two conversions and two penalties.

Brive had to dig deep for this win, which is only their second victory of the season, and the result means they move above Oyonnax into 13th position in the standings.

Stade Français made the brighter start and opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Morne Steyn crossed for the opening try after Djibril Camara and Charl McLeod did well in the build-up.

Steyn added the extras but the home side narrowed the gap via a Germain penalty in the 21st minute after Camara strayed offside on defence.

Stade extended their lead in the 33rd minute when Camara crossed for their second try after Waisea Nayacalevu set him up with a superb break which tore Brive’s defence to shreds.

Steyn converted, which gave Stade an 11-point lead, but on the stroke of half-time Thomas Laranjeira got over for Brive’s opening try and Germain’s conversion meant the match was evenly poised with the visitors leading 14-10 at the interval.

Most of the second half was a tight affair although Brive took the lead for the first time in the 63rd minute when Matthieu Ugalde scored their second try which Germain also converted.

Germain added another penalty in the 69th minute, after Siegfried Fisi’ihoi was penalised for illegal scrummaging, and with the score 20-14 in their favour, Brive were on course for a deserved victory.

Stade refused to surrender, however, and two minutes before full-time Steevy Cerqueira crossed for their third try. Jules Plisson failed with the conversion attempt from out wide and although the visitors launched a final attack in the game’s closing stages, Brive held on for an important win.

The scorers:

For Brive:
Tries: 
Laranjeira, Ugalde
Cons: Germain 2
Pens: Germain 2

For Stade Français:
Tries: 
Steyn, Camara, Cerqueira
Cons: Steyn 2

Montpellier moved into second place in the standings after claiming a hard-fought 28-24 victory over Clermont at Altrad Stadium on Sunday.

In a tightly contested encounter which was played at a frenetic pace, Montpellier got the rub of the green in the end and eventually outscored Clermont four tries to three with Nemani Nadolo and Francois Steyn scoring a brace apiece.

Clermont made a terrific start when three minutes after the kick off, Patricio Fernandez glided through a gap in the home side’s defence before crossing for the opening try.

Montpellier soaked up the early pressure but struck back in the 17th minute when Nadolo barged over from close quarters after Jan Serfontein was stopped just short of the whitewash in the build-up.

Shortly afterwards, Peter Betham made a telling break before offloading to Fritz Lee who cantered in for his side’s second try.

Fernandez added the extras and slotted a penalty five minutes later which meant the visitors were in control with the score 17-7 in their favour.

Montpellier responded in the 33rd minute when Steyn burst through a tackle from Nick Abendanon before crossing for his side’s third try but three minutes later, they received the first of three yellow cards when Henry Immelman was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Aurelien Rougerie.

Despite their numerical advantage, Clermont did not score more points before half-time and the teams changed sides with the visitors holding a slender 17-14 lead at the interval.

Six minutes into the second half, Betham intercepted an Aaron Cruden pass close to Clermont’s try-line and ran the length of the field before crossing for his side’s second try.

Fernandez converted which meant Clermont now held a 10-point lead but they were dealt a blow when John Ulugia was sent to the sin bin for illegally collapsing a maul deep inside Clermont’s half.

Nadolo crossed for his second try soon afterwards, after running onto a pass from Benoit Paillaugue, who also converted, and with the score 24-21 to Clermont, Montpellier were back in the match.

They suffered another setback though, when Joe Tomane was yellow carded in the 54th minute for playing Isaia Toeava in the air but like Immelman’s spell on the sidelines, Montpellier scored a try during this period as well when Steyn ran onto a pass from Cruden and beat a couple of defenders before crossing for his second try.

That score gave Montpellier the lead for the first time and although they lost Nadolo for a 10-minute spell on the sidelines after a cynical foul on defence, they held on for victory.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Tries: Nadolo 2, Steyn 2
Cons: Steyn, Paillaugue 3
Yellow Cards: Immelman, Tomane, Nadolo

For Clermont:
Tries: 
Fernandez, Lee, Betham
Cons: Fernandez 3
Pens: Fernandez
Yellow Card: Ulugia

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