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Top 14 Wrap – Agen go above Brive, UBB stun La Rochelle, Montpol pull away


Agen 27-13 Brive

Agen claimed a priceless Top 14 victory over relegation rivals Brive, running out 27-13 winners at Stade Armandie in the day’s early game.

Brive led 10-7 at the break thanks to Samuel Marquez’s score and a penalty try, coming in the 12th and 18th minute respectively. In reply the hosts crucially went over a minute before the half-time whistle as Johann Sadie crossed, handing his side hope of a comeback win.

Agen’s push for victory was given a further boost seven minutes into the second-half when Jake McIntyre added a penalty to level matters.

Brive replacement hooker Mike Tadjer was then sin-binned for side entry and soon after, a scrum penalty saw McIntyre nudge his side ahead.

However, that lead was shortlived when Brive’s Thomas Laranjeira fired over a long-range penalty which hit the upright on its way through.

Agen though still had their tails up and McIntyre’s smart grubber through sat up well for Clement Laporte who dived over to make it 20-13 before another McIntyre kick, this time a chip, saw Facundo Bosch cross in the right-hand corner to wrap up a priceless 27-13 victory.

The scorers:

For Agen:
Tries: Sadie, Laporte, Bosch
Cons: McIntyre 3
Pens: McIntyre 2
Yellow Card: Lamoulie

For Brive:
Try: Penalty try
Pens: Marques, Laranjeira
Yellow Card: Tadjer


Bordeaux-Bègles 29-19 La Rochelle

Bordeaux-Bègles upset league leaders La Rochelle at Matmut Atlantique to give themselves a significant boost to their play-off hopes.

They led 13-6 at the break thanks to a try from wing Geoffrey Cros while fly-half Matthieu Jalibert kicked the conversion and two penalties.

Jailbert and Brock James then traded a penalty apiece in the opening seven minutes of the second-half before Jailbert made it 19-9 with an hour gone. That was crucially a 10-point lead so La Rochelle needed two scores.

But the game then turned when Jean-Baptiste Dubié was red carded for a high tackle on Vincent Rattez and La Rochelle scored shortly after through Afaesetiti Amosa. Crucially though Ryan Lamb missed the conversion.

With Jailbert kicking a penalty on 68 minutes UBB were back out of one-score range at 22-14 up and Peni Ravai’s late try sealed the win, with Pierre Boudehent grabbing a consolation score with seconds left on the clock.

The scorers:

For Bordeaux-Bègles:
Tries: Cros, Ravai
Cons: Jailbert 2
Pens: Jailbert 5
Red Card: Dubié

For La Rochelle:
Tries: Amosa, Boudehent
Pens: James 3


Montpellier 38-17 Lyon

With both sides in a poor vein of form, it was the hosts who emerged victorious at the Altrad Stadium with a 38-17 win.

With four defeats on the spin, the visitors’ woes continued as they shipped six tries as their strong start was soon eradicated. Lyon actually took the lead within five minutes, as Liam Gill found the line before the extras from Jonathan Pelissie made it a 7-0 lead.

But that buffer disintegrated by half-time, as three tries for the hosts blew away Lyon. A double from Louis Picamoles tore the lead away from Lyon, after both sides lost a man to the sin-bin.

Timoci Nagusa increased the lead after the break, the first of three he would record in the second 40. Lyon reduced the arrears on 45 minutes as Thibaut Regard found the line, with a penalty from Mike Harris making it 17 apiece.

But Nagusa sealed the win for the hosts, with two tries completing his hat-trick. The first came 12 minutes before the end, and the game was taken away from Regard and company when Nagusa completed his trebled two minutes later. A late try from Joe Tomane added further gloss to the scoreline, with Montpellier easing to the win.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Tries: Picamoles 2, Nagusa 3, Tomane
Cons: Steyn, Paillaugue 2, Tomane
Yellow Card: Fall

For Lyon:
Tries: Gill, Regard
Cons: Pélissié 2
Pen: Harris
Yellow Card: Bekhuis


Toulon 49-25 Oyonnax

Looking to bounce back from the disappointing defeat to Bath in the Champions Cup, Toulon were expected to have few troubles against bottom of the Top 14, Oyonnax.

It took just a couple of minutes for them to hit the front, with JP Pietersen giving Toulon a lead in just the second minute. But basement boys Oyonnax shocked the hosts with a treble inside a 10 minute spell that tore up the formbook. Daniel Ikpefan struck on the 17th minute, with the second arriving four minutes later through Ben Botica. And Toulon’s night got even worse 12 minutes before the break as Geoffrey Fabbri made it three.

Vincent Clerc reduced the arrears before the break as he got Toulon’s second try, the deficit 18-19 in favour of Oyonnax. Alby Mathewson restored the Toulon lead early inside the second-half though, as a conversion and subsequent penalty built a 28-19 gap, with Oyonnax’s bright first 40 leading to nothing.

Oyonnax, who threatened to be out of sight themselves, fell further behind with Marcel van der Merwe getting the fourth Toulon try, Belleau following his three penalties with a third conversion in a strong night for the Toulon kicker. Samu Manoa and Ma’a Nonu added to the try tally late on, with Toulon eventually easing to a bonus-point win.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: Pietersen, Clerc, Mathewson, Van der Merwe, Manoa, Nonu
Cons: Belleau 5
Pens: Belleau 3

For Oyonnax:
Tries: Ikpefan, Botica, Fabbri
Cons: Botica 2
Pens: Botica 2
Yellow Card: Ursache


Pau 22-21 Clermont

Four wins in five have hinted that Clermont might be getting back to their best, and they looked well set to continue that form against a highly inconsistent Pau side who started the night two points behind them.

It was as tight a first-half as expected, and the scoreboard wasn’t troubled until the 27th minute (aside from two Colin Slade penalties). Scott Spedding crossed the line for the first try of the evening, as the visitors narrowed Pau’s lead down to just a couple of points. But they went into the break 13-5 behind when Benson Stanley went through just a couple of minutes before the whistle, with the conversion giving the hosts a healthy lead.

Slade extended the lead after the break with another penalty, but Clermont got their second try when Isaia Toeava went through, reducing the hosts’ advantage down to four points. Morgan Parra reduced that to one, but Tom Taylor quickly kicked the lead back up to four. Parra kept his side within touching distance with another penalty in the final 10 minutes, a one point game with eight minutes still remaining.

And with three minutes to go, Parra turned it right around with his third penalty of the night, appearing to steal the win for Clermont. But after a yellow card was shown to Beqa Kakabadze, Taylor slotted through a penalty in the final action of the night to record the slenderest of victories.

The scorers:

For Pau:
Try: Stanley
Con: Slade
Pens: Slade 2, Taylor 2
Drop Goal: Slade

For Clermont:
Tries: Spedding, Toeava
Con: Parra
Pens: Parra 3
Yellow Card: Kakabadze


Castres 28-6 Stade Français

The first-half firmly belonged to Castres, and it took just four minutes for the opening try to arrive. It came courtesy of Thomas Combezou, the conversion swiftly following from Benjamin Urdapilleta.

Stade Francais’ night was about to get worse, starting when they lost Paul Gabrillagues to a yellow card. And barely a minute later, the hosts made them pay in the form of a penalty try, with bodies pouring over the line. A pair of penalties from Urdapilleta were countered by two from Jules Pilsson, as the hosts took in a 20-6 lead at the break.

That lead grew by three with another penalty from Urdapilleta, and Combezou grabbed his second try of the evening with 17 minutes left on the clock. That was the end of the scoring, as Castres picked up the bonus point in a straightforward pre-Christmas win.

The scorers:

For Castres:
Tries: Combezou 2, Penalty try
Con: Urdapilleta
Pens: Urdapilleta 3
Yellow Card: Samson

For Stade Français:
Pens: Plisson 2
Yellow Cards: Gabrillagues, Danty

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