Racing 92 secured victory over Castres in Saturday’s late game and there were wins for Toulon, La Rochelle, Brive and Toulouse as well.
Castres 13-18 Racing 92
Toulon 36-12 Bordeaux-Bègles
La Rochelle 33-24 Brive
Lyon 71-17 Agen
Toulouse 37-15 Oyonnax
Stade Francais vs Pau
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier
Castres 18-13 Racing 92
Racing continued with their fine recent form when they grinded out a hard-fought victory over their hosts in Castres.
The visitors’ Argentinian international wing Juan Imhoff led the way with a deserved brace although Racing battled to gain the ascendancy and the sides were deadlocked at 10-10 at the interval.
Castres made a superb star and took the lead as early as the fourth minute courtesy of a David Smith try after running on to a pass from Thomas Combezou, who beat three defenders in the build-up.
Midway through the half, Imhoff crossed fo his first try, which was converted by Dan Carter, before Teddy Iribaren gave the visitors a 10-7 lead in the 29th minute when he slotted a penalty.
Benjamin Urdapilleta drew the home side level with a penalty of his own on the stroke of half-time which meant the match was evenly poised as the teams changed sides at the break.
Racing regained the lead in the 49th minute when Imhoff scored his second try off the back of a driving maul close to Castres’s try-line and although Carter missed with the conversion attempt, Iribaren added another penalty in the 58th minute which extend the Parisian outfit’s lead.
Castres narrowed the gap courtesy of another Urdapilleta penalty in the 65th minute and although they launched several further attacks in the game’s closing stages, they could not score further points as Racing held on for the win.
Pens: Urdapilleta 2
For Racing 92:
Tries: Imhoff 2
Pens: Iribaren 2
Toulon 36-12 Bordeaux-Bègles
Toulon ran in six tries as they claimed a 36-12 victory over Bordeaux-Begles in Top 14 action at Stade Felix Mayol on Saturday.
This, despite being down to fourteen men for more than half the match after Josia Tuisova’s dismissal in the 33rd minute for a dangerously high tackle.
Tries from Chris Ashton, Rafael Lakafia, Tuisova, Juandre Kruger and a Semi Radradra brace proved too much for Bordeaux-Begles who scored through Blair Connor and Romain Lonca.
Radradra and Ashton scored a try within two minutes of each other as Toulon surged in to a 14-0 lead after eight minutes. Ma’a Nonu set up Radradra’s score to put him through the gap while Ashton set up his own try having successfully chased his own kick.
Lakafia got in on the action with a 24th-minute score. Francois Trinh-Duc maintained his perfect record, making it three conversions from three.
The hosts continued to dominate and soon Duane Vermeulen took the ball up strongly. The ball was recycled out to the left where Tuisova was on hand to finish in emphatic fashion bashing his way between two defenders and over the try-line. Trinh-Duc’s conversion took Toulon out to a 26-0 lead with 31 minutes gone.
Soon after, the home side were reduced to fourteen men for the rest of the game when Tuisova was red-carded for a high tackle with direct force to the head area.
Bordeaux-Begles immediately capitalised on their numerical advantage with good work from Apisai Naqalevu to break the line. The ball was recycled out to the blindside for Blair Connor to finish in the corner.
Soon after, Toulon hit back. JP Pietersen expertly collected a high ball, attacked the gainline and got the offload away to Kruger who had the pace to make it all the way over the line as the home side took a 31-5 lead in to the interval.
UBB were then temporarily reduced to fourteen men when Ben Volavola was penalised for a high tackle. Toulon immediately capitalised as Radradra grabbed his brace after scything his way through a gap from an attacking scrum set-piece move.
Romain Lonca responded with a try for the visitors soon after but it was merely a consolation try and a little too late as they were soundly beaten.
Tries: Radradra 2, Ashton, Lakafia, Tuisova, Kruger
Cons: Trinh-Duc 3
Red Card: Tuisova, Tillous-Borde
Tries: Connor, Lonca
Yellow Card: Volavola
La Rochelle 33-24 Brive
La Rochelle moved to the top of the Top 14 standings as they came away with a 33-24 victory over Brive at Stade Marcel-Deflandre on Saturday.
Tries from Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Elliot Roudil and Jason Eaton proved too much for Brive who scored through Benito Masilevu and a Benjamin Lapeyre brace.
Brive held the lead for the opening twenty minutes courtesy of a Gaetan Germain penalty after just three minutes.
Nuggety La Rochelle scrum-half brought the game to life as he darted over to give his side a 7-3 lead after Ryan Lamb had added the extras.
But Brive hit back instantaneously through Masilevu as Germain converted to make it 10-3. Four minutes later, Lamb levelled matters with a penalty goal.
Roudil got in on the act for La Rochelle when he burst over after 35 minutes to make it 15-10. Brive hooker Mike Tadjer was then yellow-carded shortly before the break.
Lamb slotted the resulting penalty before La Rochelle captain Eaton scored on the stroke of half-time to give his side a 23-10 lead going in to the interval.
The away side cut the deficit to 11 points with a Benjamin Lapeyre try after 53 minutes converted by Germain making the score 26-17.
With ten minutes to go, Roudil grabbed his second and extended La Rochelle’s lead to 33-17 after Lamb’s conversion. Three minutes later, Brive responded as Lapeyre grabbed his second.
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Kerr-Barlow, Roudil, Eaton
Cons: Lamb 2
Pens: Lamb 3
Tries: Masilevu, Lapeyre 2
Cons: Germain 3
Lyon 71-17 Agen
Matmut Stadium de Gerland
Lyon ran in 10 tries as they demolished Agen 71-17 in Top 14 action at Stade de Gerland on Saturday.
Tries from Liam Gill, Jean-Marcellin Buttin, Mickael Ivaldi, Lionel Beauxis, and a Baptiste Couilloud hat-trick proved too much for Agen who scored through a Johan Sadie brace.
Lyon got off to a cracking start with a quickfire double salvo in the space of four minutes giving them a sixth-minute 14-0 lead through tries Liam Gill and Jean-Marcel Buttin.
A Jake McIntyre penalty would be the only points of the second half for Agen before Ivaldi and Couilloud scored for Lyon to give them a 28-3 lead going in to the interval.
Agen were a much-improved outfit coming out for the second half, taking just three minutes to score their first try of the match through Sadie.
Lionel Beauxis then got himself on the try column, converting his own try, stretching the lead to 38-10. Things were beginning to get embarrassing for the away side when Couilloud grabbed his second soon after.
Couilloud swiftly notched up his hat-trick with a quarter of the match to go. A penalty try on 68 minutes summed up the one-sidedness of the affair.
Sadie grabbed his brace with five minutes to go but Arnold piled on more misery with another try for Lyon before Tuifua rubbed salt in the wound after the hooter as the hosts ran out 71-17 winners.
Tries: Gill, Buttin, Ivaldi, Couilloud 3, Beauxis, Arnold, Tuifua, Penalty Try
Cons: Beauxis 6, Harris 3
Tries: Sadie 2
Cons: McIntyre, Mieres
Toulouse 37-15 Oyonnax
Toulouse consolidated their position amongst the tournament’s frontrunners with a deserved win over the league’s bottom-placed side at Stade Ernest-Wallon.
The home side were made to work hard but eventually got the job done as they secured a bonus point after outscoring their visitors five tries to two with late five-pointers from Louis-Benoit Madaule and Leonardo Ghiraldini securing victory.
There was plenty of drama and on the hour-mark both sides were reduced to 14 men after Yoann Maestri and Rory Grice were sent off for foul play. Toulouse dominated the early exchanges but had to wait until the 16th minute to open their account courtesy of a Thomas Ramos penalty.
In the 24th minute, they increased their lead when Yoann Huget showed great determination before crossing in the corner for a deserved try.
Eight minutes later, Huget was involved again and this time he turned provider by offloading to Maxime Medard who went over for his side’s second try and Ramos added the extras which gave Toulouse a 15-0 lead at half-time.
Oyonnax were fastest out of the blocks after the restart and in the 43rd minute Bjorn Basson got their first try after Ben Botica did well in the build-up.
Shortly afterwards, Toulouse struck back when Ramos crossed the whitewash but Oyonnax did not take that lying down and reduced the deficit in the 53rd minute when Jeremy Gondrand scored their second try which was converted by Botica.
Midway through the half, Maestri and Grice received their marching orders for that unsavoury incident and to make matters worse, the duo came to blows while leaving the field.
Ramos slotted a penalty in the 60th minute before Botica replied with one of his own two minutes later which meant Toulouse led 25-15. That would be the last time the visitors would score points, however, and Madaule and Ghiraldini sealed Toulouse’s win with tries in the game’s closing stages.
Tries: Huget, Medard, Ramos, Madaule, Ghiraldini
Cons: Ramos 3
Pens: Ramos 2
Red Card: Maestri
Tries: Basson, Gondrand
Red Card: Grice