It was an impressive win for Heyneke Meyer Stade Francais over Toulon on Sunday beating them 37-10.
Stade Francais 37-10 Toulon
Stade Francais moved up to second position in the Top 14 after a superb victory over three-time European champions Toulon.
The Parisians began the game superbly and went 17-3 in front thanks to a Gael Fickou brace and the accurate kicking of Morne Steyn.
Anthony Belleau had briefly levelled matters but they were being outplayed until Josua Tuisova touched down to leave them seven points in arrears at the interval.
It did not alter the momentum, however, and after Steyn had added two further three-pointers, Laurent Panis and Hugh Pyle tries ended the game as a contest.
Stade have opened the season excellently and showed why with a superb first quarter performance that saw them cross the whitewash twice. Steyn and Belleau had traded penalties before the hosts’ midfield partnership began to dominate. They were proving to be destructive and those two combined for the first as Jonathan Danty off-loaded for Fickou to go over.
The France international has enjoyed his start to life in the capital and the outside centre was soon scoring once again as he scythed his way between two front-rowers to sprint 50 metres and touch down.
To the visitors’ credit, they battled back and responded just shy of the interval when Malakai Fekitoa brilliantly pulled the ball back for Tuisova to dot down.
However, Stade maintained control of proceedings in the second period and successive Styen three-pointers moved them 23-10 clear.
Toulon were more competitive than in the early stages but they were making too many errors and the Parisians pounced as Panis and Pyle went over from close range to complete the win.
Tries: Fickou 2, Panis, Pyle
Cons: Steyn 3, Plisson
Pens: Steyn 3
Yellow Card: Macalou
Yellow Card: Savea
Clermont Auvergne and Toulouse remain unbeaten in the Top 14 following impressive victories, while Lyon, Agen and Castres also secured wins on Saturday.
Lyon 55-13 Montpellier
Agen 22-17 Bordeaux-Bègles
Castres 29-13 Grenoble
Pau 23-27 Clermont Auvergne
Toulouse 30-17 Racing 92
Lyon 55-13 Montpellier
Matmut Stadium de Gerland
Lyon produced an outstanding performance to thrash Montpellier and get their season well and truly up and running.
Pierre Mignoni’s men had struggled for consistency going into this contest but they were far too good for the visitors, scoring eight tries in all.
It leaves Vern Cotter, boss of last season’s runners up, with plenty of questions. They appear to be suffering a hangover from that defeat in the Top 14 final and the away side were completely outplayed after the break.
Montpellier were competitive in the first half, only going into the interval five point in arrears. Toby Arnold and Noa Nakaitaci tries had given the hosts an advantage, but Nico Janse van Rensburg’s effort meant it was still in the balance.
However, Lyon ran amok in the second period as quick-fire Baptiste Couilloud and Hendrik Roodt efforts moved them clear before Etienne Oosthuizen made it 36-13.
Paul Willemse was then yellow carded and Mignoni’s charges completed an impressive victory through Thibaut Regard and Charlie Ngatai, who scored a brace.
Tries: Arnold, Nakaitaci, Couilloud, Roodt, Oosthuizen, Regard, Ngatai 2
Cons: Wisniewski 4, Doussain 2
Try: Janse van Rensburg
Pens: Cruden 2
Yellow Card: Willemse
Agen 22-17 Bordeaux-Bègles
Agen made it successive home victories following an impressive triumph over a Bordeaux side that harbours big ambitions this season.
Philippe Sella’s men have been tipped to struggle and those predictions seemed apt following heavy away defeats to Clermont Auvergne and Racing 92, but they are a different beast at the Stade Armandie.
Against a team containing the talent of Semi Radradra, Baptiste Serin and Cameron Woki, the hosts controlled the first half and deservedly went 3-0 up via Jake McIntyre’s penalty.
Although Serin almost immediately levelled matters from the tee, McIntyre regained Agen’s lead before they increased their buffer through Yoan Tanga.
Their fly-half kicked the conversion and added a brace of three-pointers either side of the interval before the visitors gave themselves hope through Adrien Pelissie.
The pressure could have increased on the home side but McIntyre’s accuracy with the boot kept the opposition at arm’s length and duly helped them to an important win, meaning UBB’s last minute penalty try was in vain.
Pens: McIntyre 5
Tries: Pelissie, penalty try
Castres 29-13 Grenoble
Defending champions Castres continued their fine start to the campaign following a comfortable triumph over winless Grenoble.
With the newly-promoted outfit losing their previous three matches, there was only going to be one outcome and Christophe Urios’ outfit dominated from the start.
Grenoble may have been competitive in the opening rounds but they were overwhelmed in the first half. Castres began on the front foot and touched down through Marc-Antoine Rallier before successive Gaetan Germain penalties reduced the arrears.
However, the hosts were in control and, after Benjamin Urdapilleta had kicked a three-pointer of his own, tries from Alex Tulou and Rallier gave them a comfortable buffer at the interval.
Tulou joined the hooker in completing his brace 10 minutes into the second period, but they were unable to truly pull away. Instead, to their credit, Grenoble kept fighting and got their reward through Ali Oz’s score, but it failed to spark a comeback.
Tries: Rallier 2, Tulou 2
Cons: Urdapilleta 3
Yellow Card: Moreaux
Pens: Germain 2
Pau vs Clermont
Stade du Hameau
There was late heartbreak for Pau as Clermont maintained their winning start to the campaign after Yohan Beheregaray touched down late on to snatch the victory.
Simon Mannix’s men have not been entirely convincing so far this season but they were improved against Les Jaunards, even though Auvergne provided one final sting in the tail.
The match started slowly, with Colin Slade and Jesse Mogg penalties giving the hosts a 6-0 advantage, but it came to life in the second quarter as two tries were scored.
Morgan Parra had levelled matters with a brace of three pointers before Slade and Remy Grosso traded efforts in the final six minutes of the half.
Charly Malie then scampered across the whitewash for a 20-11 buffer, but Laidlaw reduced the arrears from the tee soon after.
Tom Taylor and Laidlaw traded penalties before a yellow card to Lucas Rey proved crucial. Franck Azema’s outfit increased the pressure and Beheregaray touched down to put them in front for the first time in the game. Laidlaw kicked the conversion and then scored a three-pointer as Clermont went away with their fourth victory.
Tries: Slade, Malie
Cons: Slade 2
Pens: Slade, Mogg, Taylor
Yellow Card: Rey
Tries: Grosso, Beheregaray
Pens: Parra 2, Laidlaw 3
Yellow Card: Slimani
Toulouse 30-17 Racing 92
Stade Ernest Wallon
Toulouse maintained their unbeaten start to the season by overcoming Racing 92, giving them their third win of 2018/19.
Having impressed in the opening rounds, Ugo Mola’s men continued their momentum by scoring three tries against the side that finished the previous campaign in second position.
They controlled the early exchanges and Maxime Mermoz, who rejoined the club from Newcastle Falcons over the off-season, touched down.
Although Raphael Lagarde responded from the tee for Racing, Sofiane Guitoune rewarded Les Rouge et Noir’sendeavour by crossing the whitewash once again.
That gave them a 14-3 lead at the break before the hosts’ left winger extended their buffer minutes into the second half.
Simon Zebo and Juan Imhoff went over to give the Parisians hope but Ramos’ place-kicking accuracy ultimately gave Toulouse a reasonably comfortable triumph.
Tries: Mermoz, Guitoune 2
Cons: Ramos 3
Pens: Ramos 3
Yellow Card: Tekori
Tries: Zebo, Imhoff
Cons: Lagarde, Volavola
La Rochelle 37-10 Perpignan
La Rochelle once again produced a sub-par display in the Top 14 but still managed to overcome Perpignan 37-10 at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre after a late surge.
They have struggled for fluency this season and, despite going 10-3 ahead at the interval through Vincent Rattez’s try and Ihaia West’s penalty, the hosts were poor for most of the encounter.
The away team initially benefited as Tom Ecochard equalised before the league leaders from the 2016/17 campaign eventually pulled away via Kini Murimurivalu, Geoffrey Doumayrou and Hikairo Forbes, who all touched down, while they were also awarded a penalty try.
It was a pretty dreadful game, between two teams who have yet to find their best form this season, and the first half was particularly mistake-ridden.
Despite the loss of head coach Patrice Collazo the hosts have continued with their off-loading game, but the accuracy was lacking. They did create the better opportunities and scored the opening points through West’s penalty, but their errors let Perpignan into the contest.
The Catalans were not averse to needlessly spilling the ball either but theirs were slightly fewer in number and Jonathan Bousquet managed to level matters from the tee.
That gave the visitors confidence and they kept the home side try-less until the 32nd minute when La Rochelle finally put together a cohesive attack. They opened the space on the outside and wing Rattez was on hand to cross the whitewash and help them into a 10-3 advantage at the break.
Perpignan had an effort from Wandile Mjekevu disallowed just shy of the interval but they were not to be deterred and duly started the second period on the front foot. Christian Lanta’s charges were eventually rewarded as the forwards went through the phases and Ecochard sniped his way over.
The scrum-half’s score only served to incense La Rochelle, though, and they immediately responded via Murimurivalu’s close-range try before West effectively secured the win with a conversion and three-pointer.
They then went in search of the bonus-point and it came through a penalty try and Forbes’ opportunistic effort.
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Rattez, Murimurivalu, Doumayrou, penalty try, Forbes
Cons: West 2
Pens: West 2