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Top14 Wrap – Wins for Racing, Toulon, La Rochelle, Brive and Toulouse

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Racing 92 secured victory over Castres in Saturday’s late game and there were wins for Toulon, La Rochelle, Brive and Toulouse as well.

Saturday

Castres 13-18 Racing 92
Toulon 36-12 Bordeaux-Bègles
La Rochelle 33-24 Brive
Lyon 71-17 Agen
Toulouse 37-15 Oyonnax

Sunday
Stade Francais vs Pau
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier

Castres 18-13 Racing 92
Stade Pierre-Fabre

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.

The scorers:

For Castres:

Try: Smith
Con: Urdapilleta
Pens: Urdapilleta 2

For Racing 92: 

Tries: Imhoff 2
Con: Carter
Pens: Iribaren 2

 

Toulon 36-12 Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Mayol

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.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: Radradra 2, Ashton, Lakafia, Tuisova, Kruger
Cons: Trinh-Duc 3
Red Card: Tuisova, Tillous-Borde

For Bordeaux-Begles:
Tries: Connor, Lonca
Con: Schoeman
Yellow Card: Volavola

 

La Rochelle 33-24 Brive
Stade Marcel-Deflandre

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.

The scorers:

For La Rochelle:
Tries: Kerr-Barlow, Roudil, Eaton
Cons: Lamb 2
Pens: Lamb 3

For Brive:
Tries: Masilevu, Lapeyre 2
Cons: Germain 3
Pen: Germain

 

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.

The scorers:

For Lyon:
Tries: Gill, Buttin, Ivaldi, Couilloud 3, Beauxis, Arnold, Tuifua, Penalty Try
Cons: Beauxis 6, Harris 3
Pen: Beauxis

For Agen:
Tries: Sadie 2
Cons: McIntyre, Mieres
Pen: McIntyre

 

Toulouse 37-15 Oyonnax
Stade Ernest-Wallon

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.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:

Tries: Huget, Medard, Ramos, Madaule, Ghiraldini
Cons: Ramos 3
Pens: Ramos 2
Red Card: Maestri

For Oyonnax: 

Tries: Basson, Gondrand
Con: Botica
Pen: Botica
Red Card: Grice

Goosen may come out of retirement

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Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad has suggested there is a ‘30% chance’ that former Springbok Johan Goosen could come out of retirement to join the French club ahead of the 2018-19 season.

In a controversial move at the end of 2016, Goosen walked away from Racing 92 by claiming ‘early retirement’, which appeared set to bring a premature end to his career.

Following Goosen’s exit, it was reported that Racing 92 would look to take legal action against Goosen after insisting that he remained bound to the club by a four-year employment contract.

However, in a recent column for French newspaper Midi Olympique, Altrad hinted that Montpellier may now look to buy Goosen out of the contract.

‘I would say that there is a 30% chance that it will happen. It all depends on the will of his current employer. I remind you that Goosen is still in the squad of Racing. If I can release him, he will strengthen our workforce for the 2018-2019 season. But in what state will it be? It will be 18 months that he will not have played.’

It’s reported that it could cost Montpellier as much as €1-million to extricate Goosen from the Racing 92 contract.

Saturday Top 14 Wrap- Montpellier overcome Stade Francais

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There were wins for Bordeaux-Bègles, Brive, Agen and Montpellier while La Rochelle were held at Oyonnax, meaning Montpol go top.

Saturday
Bordeaux-Bègles 19-10 Lyon
Brive 13-12 Toulon
Agen 30-3 Castres
Oyonnax 38-38 La Rochelle
Montpellier 28-16 Stade Français

Sunday
Pau vs Toulouse
Racing 92 vs Clermont Auvergne

Bordeaux-Bègles 19-10 Lyon
Stade Chaban-Delmas

Rory Teague’s tenure at Bordeaux-Bègles started with a win as they beat Lyon 19-10 in a dour Top 14 match at Stade Chaban-Delmas.

It was a forgetful first period with no tries to speak of, in fact neither side came close to scoring in a dull 40 minutes that finished 6-0.

Lyon missed the chance to take an early lead when fly-half Mike Harris hit the post from a long-range penalty after flanker Liam Gill’s excellent work at the breakdown. Bordeaux-Bègles’ Matthieu Jalibert made no such mistake on eight minutes to give his side a 3-0 lead.

A dominant scrum allowed Jalibert to make it 6-0 just on the half-hour but that was the last of the scoring before a much-needed break.

Jalibert struck again two minutes into the second 40 following a high tackle and at 9-0 down, Lyon were staring down the barrel of defeat.

Delon Armitage did get them back into matters from range on 51 minutes following a scrum penalty, giving them hope of sealing victory.

But that was soon chalked off by the impressive pivot Jalibert, whose penalty from distance took UBB into a 12-3 cushion on 54 minutes.

And the result was sealed on 61 minutes as Jailbert set up number eight Marco Tauleigne for a powerful try, making it 19-3 with the kick.

Former UBB full-back Jean-Marcellin Buttin did cross in the game’s final play but it was only a consolation for Lyon who were well beaten.

The scorers:

For Bordeaux-Bègles:
Try: Tauleigne
Con: Jalibert
Pens: Jalibert 4

For Lyon:
Try: Buttin
Con: Michalak
Pen: Armitage

 

Brive 13-12 Toulon
Stade Amedee-Domenech

A last-minute try from former Toulon back Benjamin Lapeyre, converted by Gaetan Germain, saw Brive claim a shock 13-12 win on Saturday.

The 12th-placed side beat their heavyweight visitors in a big setback to Toulon’s season, as they missed the chance to push for the play-offs.

Toulon led 6-3 at the break thanks to two Francois Trinh-Duc penalties to one from Germain in another low-scoring first-half in the Top 14.

Trinh-Duc and Anthony Belleau took Toulon into a 12-6 lead as time began to run out for Brive, who are just above the relegation places.

But Lapeyre’s 79th minute score left Germain with the pressure kick, which he slotted, as Brive claimed a priceless four points at home.

The scorers:

For Brive:
Try: Lapeyre
Con: Germain
Pens: Germain 2

For Toulon:
Pens: Trinh-Duc 3, Belleau

 

Agen 30-3 Castres
Stade Armandie

Castres had their play-off push halted by an impressive Agen, who ran out 30-3 winners at Stade Armandie to boost their hopes of survival.

Before kick-off Agen were second bottom with just four wins to their name, but they impressed in this win over a side that was sitting third.

A low-scoring first period saw the hosts go in 6-3 to the good but second-half tries from Mathieu Lamoulie, Yoan Tanga and George Tilsley proved too much for Castres, who had number eight Maama Vaipulu sent off in the 63rd minute, summing up a disappointing day at the office.

Unfortunately for Agen, Brive also won on Saturday so they remain in 13th place, but this result with have given them a lot of confidence.

The scorers:

For Agen:
Tries: Lamoulie, Tanga, Tilsley
Cons: McIntyre 3
Pens: McIntyre 3
Yellow Card: Nakosi

For Castres:
Pen: Urdapilleta
Red Card: Vaipulu

 

Oyonnax 38-38 La Rochelle
Stade Charles-Mathon

An 87th minute penalty from Ben Botica helped Oyonnax take a share of the spoils against high-flying La Rochelle at Stade Charles-Mathon.

It had looked like La Rochelle were heading to the four points but a converted try and then Botica’s penalty all came after 79 minutes in a thrilling finish, which was crucial seeing as relegation rivals Agen and Brive picked up wins elsewhere in Saturday’s Top 14 matches.

Oyonnax led 18-17 at the break thanks to tries from Bjorn Basson and Daniel Ikpefan, with Jean Charles Orioli and Vincent Pelo replying.

After the turnaround Axel Muler’s 44th minute try put Oyonnax in a strong position but then the league’s pace-setters struck with three unanswered tries from Gabriel Lacroix, Kevin Gourdon and Kini Murimurivalu, as they raced into a 38-28 advantage with eight minutes left.

Then came Maxime Veau’s try for Oyonnax, converted by Botica, before the former Harlequins fly-half stepped up to level with the last kick.

The scorers:

For Oyonnax:
Tries: Basson, Ikpefan, Muler, Veau
Cons: Botica 3
Pens: Botica 4

For La Rochelle:
Tries: Oriolo, Pelo, Lacroix, Gourdon, Murimurivalu
Cons: Lamb 4, James
Pen: Lamb

 

Montpellier 28-16 Stade Français
Altrad Stadium

Montpellier climbed above La Rochelle to the Top 14 summit after they overcame Stade Français 28-16 with a bonus-point victory at Altrad Stadium.

Vern Cotter’s men led 14-13 at the break, somewhat fortuitously, as Stade Français enjoyed the better of the first 40 minutes of the game.

Marvin O’Connor went over on 14 minutes for a deserved try on the right and with Jules Plisson’s conversion, the visitors were 7-0 ahead.

However the hosts hit back on 20 minutes when Aaron Cruden crossed almost in slow motion from five metres out. Benoit Paillaugue levelled.

Plisson kicked two penalties to nudge his side 13-7 in front but Louis Picamoles crossed before the break to give Montpellier the buffer.

The hosts came out strongly after the interval as, following a couple of offloads, prop Mohammed Haouas collected the ball and dived over.

Plisson then missed a shot before being successful from 40 metres out to keep Stade in touch at 21-16 down.

But it would be the devastating wing Nemani Nadolo who sealed the victory for Montpellier on 66 minutes as he slipped O’Connor wide on the left before strolling over from 20 metres out.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Tries: Cruden, Picamoles, Haouas, Nadolo
Cons: Paillaugue 4

For Stade Français:
Try: O’Connor
Con: Plisson
Pens: Plisson 3

 

Top14 Wrap

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La Rochelle, Stade Français, Racing 92, Brive and Toulouse picked up victories over Agen, Bordeaux-Begles, Oyonnax, Montpellier and Toulon in Saturday’s Top 14 action.

Saturday
La Rochelle 47-6 Agen
Stade Francais 22-12 Bordeaux-Bègles
Brive 29-10 Montpellier
Oyonnax 12-16 Racing 92
Toulouse 18-13 Toulon

Sunday
Lyon vs Pau
Clermont Auvergne vs Castres

La Rochelle 47-6 Agen

La Rochelle secured a comprehensive 47-6 over Agen in Top 14 action on Saturday.

Tries from Pierre Boudehent, Afaesetiti Amosa, Pierre Aguillon, Gregory Lamboley, Alexi Balès, Pierre Bourgarit and Jeremy Sinzelle proved too much for Agen who scored through two Hugo Verdu penalties.

Sinzelle dotted down after nine minutes to score the game’s opening try which came as just reward for La Rochelle’s dominance of the territory and possession stakes.

However, Verdu hit back with two quickfire penalties but from then on out it would be one way traffic with the hosts adding 29 unanswered points.

Bourgarit made it a 12-6 lead with a 24th minute try converted by Ryan Lamb and 10 minutes later Bales got in on the act to stretch the lead to 19-6. Lamb’s conversion meant the hosts took a 21-6 lead into the interval.

La Rochelle started the second half like a house on fire with Lamboley darting over just two minutes after the resumption of play.

Aguillon scored two minutes before Agen substitute Mickael de Marco was yellow carded. Amosa rubbed salt into the wounds two minutes later to cap off a frantic four minutes.

Boudehent’s try in the 73rd minute converted by Lamb ensured last year’s regular-season winners ran out comprehensive 47-6 victors.

The scorers: 

For La Rochelle:
Tries: Bouedehent, Amosa, Aguillon, Lamboley, Bales, Bourgarit, Sinzelle
Cons: Lamb 6

For Agen:
Pens: Verdu 2

 

Stade Français 22-12 Bordeaux-Begles

Stade Français recorded a comfortable 22-12 victory over Bordeaux-Begles in Top 14 action on Saturday.

Tries from Waisea Nayacalevu, Djibril Camara and Jonathan Danty proved too much for Bordeaux-Begles who scored through four Matthieu Jalibert penalties.

Jules Plisson began the scoring with an 11th-minute penalty but Jalibert restored parity two minutes later from the tee.

Danty’s superb individual try separated the sides at 10-3 after 35 minutes.

But the away side were unable to cross the whitewash while the home side had no such problem scoring twice more through Camara after 61 minutes and Nayacalevu after 77 minutes.

The scorers: 

For Stade Français:
Tries: Mayacalevu, Camara, Danty
Cons: Plisson 2
Pen: Plisson

For Bordeaux-Begles:
Pens: Jalibert 4

 

Brive 29-10 Montpellier

Hoping to avoid another defeat that could have left them hovering dangerously above bottom placed Oyonnax, Brive had the better of the first half, despite falling behind. It only took a handful of minutes before Francois Steyn kicked the visitors into a three-point lead from a penalty, but that was the highlight of a disappointing half for Montpellier.

Steyn missed a second kick at the posts before Brive took the lead with the first and only try of the opening 40. The TMO gave the thumbs up following a Francois Da Ros effort, with the extras following from Thomas Laranjeira for a 7-3 lead. The scoreboard wasn’t troubled for the remainder of the half, with Brive well placed to get over their recent poor form.

But the visitors bounced back immediately after the break and snatched back the lead. Benjamin Fall crossed the line after Steyn, Benoit Paillaugue and Jesse Mogg did their bit in the build up. The conversion followed, though Brive immediately levelled through a penalty.

But a quick fire double try from Nadir Megdoud put the hosts right back in control. He struck in the 56th and 59th minutes, blowing away Montpellier as the home side looked like a different side to most games this campaign. Laranjeira added both conversions and Brive consolidated victory with try number four.

Benjamin Lapeyre made it a welcome end to 2017 with 11 minutes remaining, as Montpellier’s year was rounded off with one of their most disappointing performances of the season.

The scorers:

For Brive:
Tries: Da Ros, Megdoud 2, Lapeyre
Cons: Laranjeira 3
Pen: Laranjeira

For Montpellier:
Try: Fall
Con: Paillaugue
Pen: Steyn

 

Oyonnax 12-16 Racing 92

Basement boys Oyonnax still have just one win all season, and an in-form Racing 92 side were always expected to add to their 2017 woes.

Teddy Iribaren started things well for Racing, with a hat-trick of penalties inside the first 23 minutes countering Ben Botica’s early effort for a 9-3 lead. That’s as good as it got for either side as Racing carried that lead into the break, and they were at their best after half-time to extend the lead with try number one.

Although Botica cut the lead down to just three a minute after the restart, Marc Andreu built it back up with 20 minutes remaining. He got in on an interception and sprinted his way to the line, with the extra two points from Iribaren making it a 16-6 lead, with Botica reducing it again with a couple of more penalties. With just four points in it with three minutes to play, Oyonnax sensed an upset. It didn’t come though, with Racing seeing out the slender win.

The scorers:

For Oyonnax:
Pens: Botica 4

For Racing 92:
Try: Andreu
Con: Iribaren
Pens: Iribaren 3

 

Toulouse 18-13 Toulon

Although both sides sat within grasp of each other in the league, both headed into this tie with differing recent results. Two straight defeats for Toulouse was contrast to Toulon’s league form.

The final Top 14 game of the year started slowly, with Thomas Ramos providing the only points of the first 20 with a well struck penalty. That lead was stretched as the hosts started the better, with a drop goal attempt from Zack Holmes making it 6-0. There was little in the way of try threatening action, with a pair of Toulon penalties from Anthony Belleau sandwiching a kick from Ramos. Toulouse carried a slender 9-6 lead into the break.

The second half started slowly too, although Toulouse added a further two penalties to strengthen their advantage. Ramos grabbed both within 11 minutes of the restart, and another Holmes drop goal took the gap up to 12 points as Toulon continued to struggle.

But they bounced right back into it with the first try, coming on 69 minutes. Eric Escande found his way into the scoring, with the conversion from Francois Trinh-Duc setting up an exciting finish with Toulouse holding an 18-13 lead. There was to be no turnaround though, with Toulouse sealing the win.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Pens: Ramos 4
Drop Goals: Holmes 2

For Toulon:
Try: Escande
Con: Trinh-Duc
Pens: Belleau 2

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

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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

Thanks to

Racing edge Toulouse

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Racing 92 strengthened their position in the pace-setting pack as they beat Toulouse 23-19 at U Arena in their Top 14 fixture on Friday.

This result sees the Paris side move level on points with second-placed Montpellier while Toulouse missed the chance to break into the group sitting at the top of the standings, but do go above Castres into fifth spot on the table.

Racing 92 enjoyed the best of the first-half action on home soil and went in very much in command at 20-9 in front thanks to two tries.

The first crossing came in the 10th minute from flank Wenceslas Lauret before left wing Virimi Vakatawa went over four minutes later.

Toulouse had struck first off the tee through full-back Thomas Ramos, but his three first-half penalties were all they could muster. Meanwhile Racing 92 replacement Teddy Iribaren, who was on for the injured Maxime Machenaud, slotted both conversions and also two penalties.

It was game on shortly after the resumption when Yoann Huget crossed and with Ramos’ extras, Toulouse were just four points behind.

Iribaren’s third penalty nudged Racing into a seven-point cushion on 51 minutes but Ramos hit back on the hour mark to make it 23-19.

And that was how things stayed as Racing held on to claim the victory while Toulouse at least got a losing bonus-point from the game.

The scorers:

For Racing 92:
Tries: Lauret, Vakatawa
Cons: Iribaren 2
Pens: Iribaren 3
Yellow Card: Tales

For Toulouse:
Try: Huget
Con: Ramos
Pens: Ramos 4
Yellow Card: Pointud

Lambie back to best as Racing stun Toulon

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Racing 92 broke Toulon’s proud home record with a 40-29 victory at Stade Felix Mayol in Top 14 action on Sunday.

Brice Dulin gave the visitors the lead when he dotted down with 16 minutes gone on the clock. Pat Lambie converted for a 7-0 lead.

A Lambie penalty extended the lead to 10-0 but Toulon hit back with two tries late in the second half from Malakai Fekitoa and JP Pietersen to take a 14-10 lead in to the interval.

Lambie’s 43rd minute penalty brought Racing within one point of the opposition at 14-13.

Toulon then scored a wonderful counter-attacking try after a loose pass from Racing scrum-half Teddy Iribaren was gobbled up by Fekitoa who went on a scintillating weaving run before getting the offload off to Semi Radradra who slipped the pass on his inside to Chris Ashton who had the simple task of dotting down. Jonathan Wisniewski added the extras to take the hosts into a 21-13 lead.

The next try also came from an errant Racing pass. As Toulon recovered the ball, Ma’a Nonu sent a hopeful grubber kick through which Pietersen ran on to collect and score.

But then against the run of play Marc Andreu pounced on a loose Wisniewski pass to run coast to coast for a wonderfully opportunistic intercept try. Lambie’s conversion levelled the scores with twenty minutes to go.

Soon after, the visitors grabbed the lead in dramatic fashion after Dulin made the break, switched the ball to Albert Vulivuli. From the next ruck, Lambie went out wide to the right where Yannick Nyanga was ready and waiting to complete the simplest of finishes in the right-hand corner.

Substitute fly-half Luis Carbonel cut the deficit to four points with a penalty for the hosts.

Louis Dupichot put the game beyond doubt when he scored Racing’s fourth just before the final whistle.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: Pietersen 2, Fekitoa, Ashton
Cons: Wisniewski 3
Pen: Carbonel

For Racing 92:
Tries: Dulin, Andreu, Nyanga, Dupichot
Cons: Lambie 4
Pens: Lambie 4

TOP14 Wrap

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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

TOP14 Preview

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High-flying Lyon host La Rochelle in the pick of the Top 14 games this weekend as Round 9 starts with Toulouse facing Bordeaux-Bègles.

It’s first versus third at Matmut Stadium Gerland in what promises to be an epic clash between the in-form sides while on Sunday the big game sees Montpellier and Clermont face off at Altrad Stadium to end the weekend’s action.

Saturday

Toulouse vs Bordeaux-Bègles
Oyonnax vs Castres
Racing 92 vs Pau
Lyon vs La Rochelle
Agen vs Toulon

Sunday

Brive vs Stade Français
Montpellier vs Clermont

Toulouse vs Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Ernest Wallon

Fifth takes on sixth at Stade Ernest Wallon to start the round in what is an intriguing match as both sides look to boost their play-off hopes.

Toulouse were well beaten by La Rochelle last week with UBB also defeated, at the hands of Racing 92 in Paris, so both need a response.

Victory for Toulouse would see them move level on points with second-placed Montpellier, provisionally at least, while a win for UBB would put them up to third before their other rivals take to the field. Victory at Toulouse though will be a big ask for Jacques Brunel’s men.

Oyonnax vs Castres
Stade Charles Mathon

Fresh off a 52-18 hammering at the hands of Lyon, Oyonnax host a Castres side buoyed by their 43-28 home victory over Agen last week.

Oyonnax are currently in 12th spot while that win for Castres moved them up to ninth and they will hope to continue that rise on Saturday.

They should have too much quality in their side and we expect them to get the victory at Stade Charles Mathon as their revival continues.

Racing 92 vs Pau
Stade Yves Du Manoir

It’s seventh versus eighth at Stade Yves Du Manoir as Racing enter on the back of that win over Bordeaux-Bègles while Pau lost to Montpol.

That win ended a three-match losing streak in the Top 14 for Racing 92 so they will be desperate not to undo their good work last week.

Pau are a dangerous side though and pushed Racing all the way in this game last season. Expect a tight one between the play-off rivals.

Lyon vs La Rochelle
Matmut Stadium Gerland

The fixture of the round sees two in-form sides clash at Matmut Stadium Gerland, with pace-setting Lyon hosting third-placed La Rochelle.

Lyon are currently four points clear of Montpellier at the summit after eight matches, with La Rochelle a further two behind in the standings.

Five straight wins have seen Lyon to this lofty position but La Rochelle are a real threat to ending that run in what will be a great showdown.

Agen vs Toulon
Stade Armandie

The late game on Saturday pits Agen, who are second bottom in the table, against a Toulon side who know they can’t afford any slip-ups.

Victory for Toulon would keep them in the chasing pack at the right end of the table, but Agen showed last week against Castres they can hurt teams. Although they ended up on the losing side the strugglers will have taken plenty of positives from that game before this home fixture.

On paper though Toulon have enough class in their side to seal a win that would give them a boost before hosting Racing after a week off.

Brive vs Stade Français
Stade Amédée Domenech

Sunday’s action starts at Stade Amédée Domenech where basement side Brive will be hoping to upset Stade Français, who sit in 11th spot.

Stade’s decent run in the Top 14 that saw them beat Pau and Montpellier was ended last week as they lost out 33-10 to Clermont on the road. Brive meanwhile couldn’t back up their win over Castres as they fell to Toulon, succumbing to their seventh loss from eight league matches.

Brive won this league match last year and it is must-win here before the week off, with two away fixtures to follow before the end of 2017.

Montpellier vs Clermont
Altrad Stadium

Last but by no means least Montpellier host Clermont to bring down the curtain on Round 9, with the latter in desperate need of a victory.

Clermont are currently on 17 points in 10th spot while Montpellier are faring much better on 28 as they look to keep the pressure on Lyon.

Les Jaunards won this match last season but things look very different in 2017/18 after four losses from their eight games, which has been a shock to the watching public. Vern Cotter’s Montpellier should win this on their home patch.

Thanks to

Carter’s future uncertain at Racing

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New Zealand world cup winner Dan Carter future at his Top14 club Racing Metro is uncertain, reports NZHerald

A coach at Racing has said that Carter’s future is unclear as the form All Black last month said that he wants to bring his family home once his stint at Racing ends.

Racing Metro co-trainer Laurent Labit has told Le Parisien that Carter’s recent injury woes leave him uncertain to play an extra year.

“He’s thinking right now,” says co-trainer Laurent Labit. Will he sign for another year? We do not know it yet. He will only do it if he is sure that his body is following. “

 Carter joined the club after winning the 2015 World Cup with the All Blacks in England for what is believed over to be more than $6 million (NZD) per month which made him the highest paid rugby player at the time.

Carter helped his club winning their first TOP14 title in 26 years and fell just sort against Saracens in the Champions Cup final.

“I’m kind of going through those thoughts at the moment – whether I stay or whether I look at other opportunities,” Carter told Radio Sport’s Martin Devlin last month.

“Home, New Zealand, is where the family is and that’s a big part of my life. My personal family, my two boys and beautiful wife, they’ve sacrificed a lot coming over to the other side of the world to be with me so it would be nice to return the favour one day and move back to New Zealand so they’re able to spend time with our families; spend time with their cousins and have the same upbringing we did.

“They’re decisions I’m weighing at the moment. I’m not young and single anymore thinking about yourself and where you’re going to be playing next and where next pay cheque will be. You’ve got to start putting your family first and that’s one of my biggest priorities at the moment.”

Sunday – Top 14 Wrap

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Lyon consolidated their position at the top of the standings after thrashing Oyonnax while Pau, Racing 92 and Clermont also claimed wins.

Results

Saturday
Toulon 41-24 Brive
Lyon 52-18 Oyonnax
Pau 16-22 Montpellier
Racing 92 29-13 Bordeaux-Bègles
Clermont Auvergne 33-10 Stade Français

Lyon 52-18 Oyonnax
Matmut Stadium de Gerland, Lyon

Outstanding scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud touched down twice as Lyon maintained their position at the top of the table after a dominant 52-18 triumph over Oyonnax.

The strugglers initially gave a good account of themselves, going 10-up at the end of the first quarter thanks to Ben Botica, who scored a try, conversion and penalty.

Pierre Mignoni’s men hit back, however, and were ahead by the interval when Alexis Palisson and Couilloud crossed the whitewash.

Although Lionel Beauxis and Jeremy Gondrand traded penalties at the start of the second half, leaders Lyon began to increase the tempo.

Adrien Buononato’s side duly failed to cope as quick-fire efforts from Toby Arnold and Couilloud put them out of the visitors’ reach.

Quentin Etienne was then yellow carded for Oyonnax and Stephane Clement, Delon Armitage and Dylan Cretin duly completed the win, despite Curtis Browning’s late consolation.

The scorers:

For Lyon:
Tries:
 Palisson, Couilloud 2, Arnold, Clement, Armitage, Cretin
Cons: Beauxis 7
Pen: Beauxis
Yellow Card: Lambey

For Oyonnax:
Tries: 
Botica, Browning
Con: Botica
Pens: Botica, Gondrand
Yellow Cards: Ursache, Etienne

Pau 16-22 Montpellier

Stade du Hameau, Pau

A superb first half display was the catalyst as Montpellier re-found their form following an excellent 22-16 victory over fellow play-off hopefuls Pau.

Having lost successive games in the Champions Cup, Vern Cotter sought a response from his charges and they duly delivered, going 15-3 up.

Nemani Nadolo, as Exeter Chiefs found out last week, is almost impossible to stop and the wing got the visitors off to an ideal start.

Tom Taylor and Benoit Paillaugue then traded penalties before Cotter’s men put together another incisive attack which ended in Joe Tomane touching down.

Although Taylor kicked his second three-pointer for the hosts, Louis Picamoles appeared to have secured the victory when the number eight powered over from close range.

However, Pau improved significantly and got themselves back into the contest via Jale Vatubua’s excellently worked try and another Taylor effort off the tee but, despite a late yellow card for Konstantine Mikautadze, Montpellier held on.

The scorers:

For Pau:
Try: 
Vatubua
Con: Taylor
Pens: Taylor 3

For Montpellier:
Tries: Nadolo, Tomane, Picamoles
Cons: Paillaugue 2
Pen: Paillaugue
Yellow Card: Mikautadze

 

Racing 92 29-13 Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes

Racing 92 overcame a red card for wing Virimi Vakatawa to get their domestic season back on track with an impressive 29-13 triumph over Bordeaux-Bègles.

Vakatawa was sent-off for a dangerous tackle with the hosts 8-7 down thanks to Simon Hickey’s penalty and Nans Ducuing’s try.

However, it seemed to inspire the Parisians who reacted superbly and dominated the tight exchanges. All their tries in the second period came through their forwards as Bordeaux failed to deal with their opponents’ physicality.

UBB did extend their advantage after 42 minutes via Matthieu Jalibert, but Racing began to assert their authority and Camille Chat added to Teddy Thomas’ earlier try to take them into the lead.

Edwin Maka and Chat then touched down to secure the victory before an ill-tempered game was marred by two further sending offs for Manuel Carizza and Sebastien Taofifenua.

The scorers:

For Racing 92:
Tries: 
Thomas, Chat 2, Maka
Cons: Machenaud 3
Pen: Iribaren
Yellow Card: Iribaren
Red Cards: Vakatawa, Carizza

For Bordeaux-Bègles:
Tries:
 Ducuing, Jalibert
Pen: Hickey
Yellow Card: Dubie
Red Card: Taofifenua

 

Clermont Auvergne 33-10 Stade Français
Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand

Alivereti Raka continued his fine form to help Clermont Auvergne defeat Stade Français 33-10 and move closer to the play-off places.

Franck Azema’s men once again struggled for fluency throughout but, in the Fijian-born wing, they have one of the most dangerous players in Europe and he pounced on a defensive error by the visitors to score their only try in the first half.

Credit must go to Stade, who put in a much improved display after being embarrassed by London Irish last week, but they were eventually overpowered by Les Jaunards.

Morgan Parra opened the scoring off the tee for the hosts before Raka showed excellent anticipation and strength to extend their lead.

Although Morne Steyn kept Greg Cooper’s team in the contest with a penalty, successive Parra three-pointers towards the end of the first half meant that Auvergne went into the break 16-3 ahead.

Much like the opening to the game, Clermont started the second period on the front foot and, after Siegfried Fisiihoi had been sin-binned, referee Romain Poite awarded the home side a penalty try as their scrum marched towards the line.

Charl McLeod gave Stade some hope going into the latter stages but Parra and Fritz Lee extinguished any thoughts of a comeback.

The scorers:

For Clermont:
Tries: Raka, penalty try, Lee
Cons: Parra 2
Pens: Parra 4

For Stade:
Try: 
McLeod
Con: Plisson
Pen: Steyn
Yellow Cards: Steenkamp, Fisiihoi

La Rochelle moved up to third position in the Top 14 standings after they outclassed Toulouse, prevailing 37-21 at Stade Marcel Deflandre.

Tries from Hikairo Forbes, Jeremy Sinzelle, Alexis Bales and Mohamed Boughanmi saw them run out winners, Bales kicking 17 points.

In reply for Toulouse, Dorian Aldegheri and Sebastien Bezy scored but they were second best on Sunday and suffer their second defeat.

It was 13-9 to La Rochelle at the interval though thanks to Forbes’ try and Bales’ boot, Thomas Ramos kicking nine points for the visitors.

But after the turnaround La Rochelle began to dominate – despite having replacement William Demotte sent-off on the hour – with Sinzelle, Bales and Boughanmi’s tries meaning Aldegheri and Bezy’s scores for Toulouse were in vain.

The scorers:

For La Rochelle:
Tries: Forbes, Sinzelle, Bales, Boughanmi
Cons: Bales 4
Pens: Bales 3
Red Card: Demotte

For Toulouse:
Tries: Aldegheri, Bezy
Con: Ramos
Pens: Ramos 3
Yellow Cards: Kolbe, Madaule

Top 14 Wrap

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Lyon consolidated their position at the top of the standings after thrashing Oyonnax while Pau, Racing 92 and Clermont also claimed wins.

Results

Saturday
Toulon 41-24 Brive
Lyon 52-18 Oyonnax
Pau 16-22 Montpellier
Racing 92 29-13 Bordeaux-Bègles
Clermont Auvergne 33-10 Stade Français

Lyon 52-18 Oyonnax
Matmut Stadium de Gerland, Lyon

Outstanding scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud touched down twice as Lyon maintained their position at the top of the table after a dominant 52-18 triumph over Oyonnax.

The strugglers initially gave a good account of themselves, going 10-up at the end of the first quarter thanks to Ben Botica, who scored a try, conversion and penalty.

Pierre Mignoni’s men hit back, however, and were ahead by the interval when Alexis Palisson and Couilloud crossed the whitewash.

Although Lionel Beauxis and Jeremy Gondrand traded penalties at the start of the second half, leaders Lyon began to increase the tempo.

Adrien Buononato’s side duly failed to cope as quick-fire efforts from Toby Arnold and Couilloud put them out of the visitors’ reach.

Quentin Etienne was then yellow carded for Oyonnax and Stephane Clement, Delon Armitage and Dylan Cretin duly completed the win, despite Curtis Browning’s late consolation.

The scorers:

For Lyon:
Tries:
 Palisson, Couilloud 2, Arnold, Clement, Armitage, Cretin
Cons: Beauxis 7
Pen: Beauxis
Yellow Card: Lambey

For Oyonnax:
Tries: 
Botica, Browning
Con: Botica
Pens: Botica, Gondrand
Yellow Cards: Ursache, Etienne

 

Pau 16-22 Montpellier
Stade du Hameau, Pau

A superb first half display was the catalyst as Montpellier re-found their form following an excellent 22-16 victory over fellow play-off hopefuls Pau.

Having lost successive games in the Champions Cup, Vern Cotter sought a response from his charges and they duly delivered, going 15-3 up.

Nemani Nadolo, as Exeter Chiefs found out last week, is almost impossible to stop and the wing got the visitors off to an ideal start.

Tom Taylor and Benoit Paillaugue then traded penalties before Cotter’s men put together another incisive attack which ended in Joe Tomane touching down.

Although Taylor kicked his second three-pointer for the hosts, Louis Picamoles appeared to have secured the victory when the number eight powered over from close range.

However, Pau improved significantly and got themselves back into the contest via Jale Vatubua’s excellently worked try and another Taylor effort off the tee but, despite a late yellow card for Konstantine Mikautadze, Montpellier held on.

The scorers:

For Pau:
Try: 
Vatubua
Con: Taylor
Pens: Taylor 3

For Montpellier:
Tries: Nadolo, Tomane, Picamoles
Cons: Paillaugue 2
Pen: Paillaugue
Yellow Card: Mikautadze

 

Racing 92 29-13 Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes

Racing 92 overcame a red card for wing Virimi Vakatawa to get their domestic season back on track with an impressive 29-13 triumph over Bordeaux-Bègles.

Vakatawa was sent-off for a dangerous tackle with the hosts 8-7 down thanks to Simon Hickey’s penalty and Nans Ducuing’s try.

However, it seemed to inspire the Parisians who reacted superbly and dominated the tight exchanges. All their tries in the second period came through their forwards as Bordeaux failed to deal with their opponents’ physicality.

UBB did extend their advantage after 42 minutes via Matthieu Jalibert, but Racing began to assert their authority and Camille Chat added to Teddy Thomas’ earlier try to take them into the lead.

Edwin Maka and Chat then touched down to secure the victory before an ill-tempered game was marred by two further sending offs for Manuel Carizza and Sebastien Taofifenua.

The scorers:

For Racing 92:
Tries: 
Thomas, Chat 2, Maka
Cons: Machenaud 3
Pen: Iribaren
Yellow Card: Iribaren
Red Cards: Vakatawa, Carizza

For Bordeaux-Bègles:
Tries:
 Ducuing, Jalibert
Pen: Hickey
Yellow Card: Dubie
Red Card: Taofifenua

Clermont Auvergne 33-10 Stade Français
Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand

Alivereti Raka continued his fine form to help Clermont Auvergne defeat Stade Français 33-10 and move closer to the play-off places.

Franck Azema’s men once again struggled for fluency throughout but, in the Fijian-born wing, they have one of the most dangerous players in Europe and he pounced on a defensive error by the visitors to score their only try in the first half.

Credit must go to Stade, who put in a much improved display after being embarrassed by London Irish last week, but they were eventually overpowered by Les Jaunards.

Morgan Parra opened the scoring off the tee for the hosts before Raka showed excellent anticipation and strength to extend their lead.

Although Morne Steyn kept Greg Cooper’s team in the contest with a penalty, successive Parra three-pointers towards the end of the first half meant that Auvergne went into the break 16-3 ahead.

Much like the opening to the game, Clermont started the second period on the front foot and, after Siegfried Fisiihoi had been sin-binned, referee Romain Poite awarded the home side a penalty try as their scrum marched towards the line.

Charl McLeod gave Stade some hope going into the latter stages but Parra and Fritz Lee extinguished any thoughts of a comeback.

The scorers:

For Clermont:
Tries: Raka, penalty try, Lee
Cons: Parra 2
Pens: Parra 4

For Stade:
Try: 
McLeod
Con: Plisson
Pen: Steyn
Yellow Cards: Steenkamp, Fisiihoi

Thanks to

Top 14 wrap

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Wins were claimed by Bordeaux-Bègles, Stade Français and Toulouse while Lyon kept up their fine form by beating Racing 92 on Saturday.

Results

Saturday
Toulon 26-20 La Rochelle
Oyonnax 9-39 Bordeaux-Bègles
Pau 23-25 Stade Français
Toulouse 30-10 Agen
Racing 92 17-20 Lyon

Oyonnax 9-39 Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Charles-Mathon, Oyonnax

Maxime Veau was the villain as 14-man Oyonnax failed to withstand a Bordeaux-Bègles second-half onslaught, going down 39-9 to Jacques Brunel’s men.

With the hosts just 13-9 in arrears the centre tipped Marco Tauleigne beyond the horizontal and was duly sent-off – an incident which altered the course of the game.

Despite Simon Hickey’s brace of three-pointers and a penalty try, Ben Botica’s accuracy off the tee kept Adrien Buononato’s side in contention at the interval.

Veau then received his marching orders and Bordeaux took control as a result, touching down four times to complete a bonus-point win.

Adrien Pelissie got their first of the second half before Cyril Cazeaux, Leroy Houston and Jean-Pascal Barraque rounded off an excellent evening’s work for UBB.

The scorers:

For Oyonnax:
Pens: Botica 3
Red Card: Veau

For Bordeaux-Bègles:
Tries: Penalty try, Pelissie, Cazeaux, Houston, Barraque
Cons: Hickey 3
Pens: Hickey 2

Pau 23-25 Stade Français
Stade du Hameau, Pau

Sekou Macalou’s late try helped Stade Français rip up the form book after they secured an outstanding 25-23 triumph over Pau.

Greg Cooper’s men have struggled so far this season and went into the weekend down in 13th position, but they responded magnificently.

They began brightly and, after Sean Dougall had been sin-binned, Jules Plisson’s penalty and Marvin O’Connor’s try took them 8-3 ahead – Tom Taylor responding for the hosts off the tee.

However, Simon Mannix’s side, who were on a three-match winning run going into this contest, gradually asserted their authority, scoring 13 unanswered points via Colin Slade’s touchdown and the accurate kicking of Taylor.

Waisea Nayacalevu and Jamie Mackintosh traded efforts at the start of the second period and, at that point, Pau were well in control, but the Parisians had a final sting in the tail.

Replacement Morne Steyn came on to reduce the arrears with a three-pointer before Macalou sped down the left-wing to snatch a remarkable victory for Stade.

The scorers:

For Pau:
Tries: Slade, Mackintosh
Cons: Taylor 2
Pens: Taylor 3
Yellow Card: Dougall

For Stade Français:
Tries: O’Connor, Nayacalevu, Macalou
Cons: Plisson, Steyn
Pens: Plisson, Steyn
Yellow Card: Alberts

 

Toulouse 30-10 Agen
Stade Ernest-Wallon, Toulouse

Improving Toulouse secured the expected victory over promoted Agen but failed in their quest for the bonus-point as they emerged 30-10 triumphant at the Stade Ernest-Wallon.

Les Rouge et Noir dominated most of the encounter but struggled to truly get going. That was perfectly demonstrated by their first-half performance after they opened up a 6-0 lead after 30 minutes through Thomas Ramos.

Paul Abadie reduced the arrears off the tee for the visitors but centre Gael Fickou, who was arguably the game’s most potent attacking threat, finally broke the try-scoring deadlock on the stroke of half-time.

Ramos then increased the hosts’ buffer at the start of the second period before they were awarded a penalty try 12 minutes from time.

Although Kamaliele Tufele crossed the whitewash for Agen late on, Toulouse had the final word via Cheslin Kolbe, who touched down from close range.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries: Fickou, penalty try, Kolbe
Cons: Ramos, Ntamack
Pens: Ramos 3

For Agen:
Try: Tufele
Con: Lamoulie
Pen: Abadie

 

Racing 92 17-20 Lyon
Stade Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes

Frederic Michalak rolled back the years by producing an excellent display as Lyon moved to the top of the table following an impressive 20-17 triumph over Racing 92.

While previous league leaders Montpellier have an opportunity to regain their position at the summit, this was a performance which showed their title credentials.

It took them a while to find their rhythm, however, as the hosts moved 10 points up via Teddy Iribaren’s penalty and Wenceslas Lauret’s well-worked try.

Lyon hit back via the boot of Michalak before Alexis Palisson intercepted a stray pass to touch down under the posts.

The visiting fly-half was becoming increasingly influential and, after he had taken Pierre Mignoni’s men into the lead from the tee, the former French international sent Toby Arnold over the line.

Having conceded 20 unanswered points, the hosts were shell-shocked but they recovered their composure to set-up a tense finale when Juan Imhoff touched down.

Racing then pressed for the winning score but Lyon deservedly held on for a valuable away victory.

The scorers:

For Racing 92:
Tries: Lauret, Imhoff
Cons: Iribaren 2
Pen: Iribaren

For Lyon:
Tries: Palisson, Arnold
Cons: Michalak 2
Pens: Michalak 2
Yellow Card: Fourie

 

Thanks to 

Cheetahs gets forth win at home

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Torsten van Jaarsveld and Makazole Mapimpi both scored two tries as the Toyota Cheetahs earned their third straight Guinness PRO14 win with victory over Ospreys.

The hosts raced into a 15-0 lead only for Rhys Webb and Kieron Fonotia scores to bring the Ospreys back into the game before Mapimpi had the Cheetahs ahead at the break.

Paul Schoeman gave the Cheetahs’ their try bonus point before Mapimpi made sure of the result with his fifth score of the Guinness PRO14 season.

Dan Evans’ score hinted at a second Ospreys comeback but Francois Venter added further gloss to the Cheetahs win.

Hooker van Jaarsveld opened the scoring for the Cheetahs as he went over from the back of a driving maul before Ernst Stapelberg extended their advantage with a penalty.

And the hosts were 15-0 ahead after an excellent team try which started in their own 22 and ended with van Jaarsveld going over for his fifth try of the campaign.

Francois Venter collected a long clearance kick and launched a counter attack which saw Mapimpi burst through and van Jaarsveld was in the perfect place to finish off a fine team score.

Then came the Ospreys comeback as Webb threw a dummy and sniped successfully at the side of a ruck for his first try of the season.

Biggar converted and set up Fonotia soon after with a delicate grubber which the replacement managed to dot down to bring the score to 15-14.

The Wales fly-half pushed the Ospreys ahead with a penalty but the Cheetahs were 22-17 to the good at the break as Makazole Mapimpi crossed for his fourth score of the campaign.

Biggar and Stapelberg exchanged penalties early in the second half before another decisive driving maul gave the Cheetahs their try bonus point.

Paul Schoeman was the man who made the final pick and go from close range to give the hosts a 32-20 lead as the hour mark approached.

And while Van Jaarsveld was in the sin bin, Mapimpi beat Keelan Giles to collect an excellently placed box kick from scrum-half Tian Meyer and score the Cheetah’s fifth try.

Dan Evans snuck over in the corner to make the score 37-25 and with Ospreys pushing for two bonus points, Venter was able to intercept and add further gloss to the scoreline.

Read more at www.pro14rugby.org

Top 14 Wrap

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La Rochelle, Bordeaux Begles, Toulouse and Pau secured wins in an entertaining day of Top 14 action on Saturday after Clermont won earlier in the day.

Results

Saturday

Clermont Auvergne 23-21 Racing 92
Agen 14-20 Pau
Bordeaux-Bègles 47-17 Montpellier
La Rochelle 57-12 Oyonnax
Brive 19-22 Toulouse

Agen 14-20 Pau
Stade Armandie, Agen

Pau withstood late pressure to defeat Agen 20-14 at the Stade Armandie and seal their first away victory of the season.

The hosts were camped on the opposition line for five minutes after the clock had gone red, but Simon Mannix’s charges displayed impressive resistance to keep them out.

It had been comfortable enough for the visitors early on after Frank Halai rewarded their initial dominance by going over, but Philippe Sella’s team have been difficult to break down at home.

They were typically dogged here and were duly level when good hands on the left-hand side allowed Facundo Bosch to touch down.

Although Brandon Fajardo’s penalty took Pau back ahead, Jake McIntyre’s try meant that Agen went into the final quarter 14-10 in front.

Mannix’s men were getting desperate but their fears were eased by Masalosalo Tutaia who powered across the line from close range. Replacement Fajardo then added a three-pointer to extend their buffer to six and, despite a final Agen surge, the visitors held on.

The scorers:

For Agen:
Tries: Bosch, McIntyre
Cons: Mieres, McIntyre

For Pau:
Tries: Halai, Tutaia
Cons: Slade, Fajardo
Pens: Fajardo 2
Yellow Card: Ramsay


Bordeaux-Bègles 47-17 Montpellier
Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux

Bordeaux-Bègles ended Montpellier’s 100 per cent record in emphatic fashion by thrashing the league leaders 47-17.

The visitors were without a number of key individuals and it showed as UBB raced into a 31-10 lead at the interval through Loann Goujon, Nev Edwards, Jean-Pascal Barraque and Apisai Naqalevu tries.

Vern Cotter’s men responded via Timoci Nagusa in the first half and also had another score controversially chalked off, but they were simply outplayed.

Nagusa’s second try did give Montpellier some hope after the break but Simon Hickey’s accurate kicking off the tee took the hosts clear.

Bordeaux then went in search of the bonus-point and, after Konstantin Mikautadze had been sent-off, Hickey crossed the whitewash to complete an outstanding display.

The scorers:
For Bordeaux:
Tries: Goujon, Edwards, Barraque, Naqalevu, Hickey
Cons: Hickey 5
Pens: Hickey 4

For Montpellier:
Tries: Nagusa 2
Cons: Cruden 2
Pen: Cruden
Red Card: Mikautadze

 


La Rochelle 57-12 Oyonnax
Stade Marcel-Deflandre, La Rochelle

La Rochelle unsurprisingly put Oyonnax to the sword, touching down eight times in the process, as they went away with a dominant 57-12 victory over the promoted side.

Following a battling performance at Racing last weekend, the visitors lacked energy at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre. A second successive game on their travels evidently took its toll and the hosts duly benefited, going into a 29-7 lead at the interval.

Vincent Rattez and Viliami Ma’afu traded tries in the opening 15 minutes but Patrice Collazo’s men soon began to pull away.

Afa Amosa started the rout by powering across the whitewash before Kevin Gourdon and Jason Easton went over as the home team took a 22-point buffer into the break.

Although Benjamin Geledan scored for Oyonnax in the second period, Paul Jordaan, Victor Vito and Kini Murimurivalu (twice) all crossed to confirm La Rochelle’s dominance over last season’s ProD2 winners.

The scorers:
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Rattez, Amosa, Gourdon, Eaton, Jordaan, Vito, Murimurivalu 2
Cons: Bales 4, James 3
Pen: Bales
Yellow Card: Eaton

For Oyonnax:
Tries: Ma’afu, Geledan
Con: Ruiz

 

 


Brive 19-22 Toulouse
Stade Amedee-Domenech, Brive

Brive remain winless in the Top 14 as another disappointing evening saw them fall to a fifth defeat of the campaign after succumbing to Toulouse 22-19.

Nicolas Godignon’s men needed the win to kick-start their campaign but, despite a positive opening, they soon found themselves in arrears.

Scrum-half Samuel Marques kicked Brive in front after two minutes but a well-worked move ended in Leonardo Ghiraldini touching down for the visitors.

Although Marques regained the hosts’ advantage from the tee, Les Rouge et Noir were in control and Zack Holmes’ individual try was indicative of their extra quality.

Brive continued to battle and Marques rewarded their endeavour with two further penalties, but Maxime Medard sealed a deserved victory for Toulouse.

The hosts did have the final word via Mike Tadjer, whose score gave them the consolation of a losing bonus-point – their first of the season – but it was not enough to arrest the slide.

The scorers:

For Brive:
Try: Tadjer
Con: Lapeyre
Pens: Marques 4

For Toulouse:
Tries: Ghiraldini, Holmes, Medard
Cons: Ramos 2
Pens: Ramos
Yellow Card: Roumieu

Benetton with a great win over Ospreys

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A sublime break from Luca Sperandio helped Francesco Minto over the line to seal a 16-6 victory for Benetton Rugby over Ospreys.

It is the first time the home side have claimed back-to-back wins since February 2016, after defeating Edinburgh in an impressive away showing last week.

The Italians achieved the feat in fine fashion, holding off Ospreys’ repeated advances with a solid defence, though the visitors were accurate from the tee with three points for Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.

Steve Tandy’s men welcomed British & Irish Lions Biggar, Rhys Webb and Alun Wyn Jones back into the matchday 23, but it was not enough to down the valiant Benetton side.

Benetton stunned the home crowds with a try after just one minute of play thanks to a superb step from Sperandio, with the winger finding Minto to claim the first five points of the game.

Minutes later, Dan Biggar was offered an easy three points when the Benetton scrum was penalised under the posts.

But Ian McKinley did not waste his chance to extend the Italians’ lead as he squeezed a challenging long-range kick over the posts shortly after.

On his first start of the season since returning from Lions duty, Biggar was forced to leave the pitch injured early in the first half, making way for Davies to take the field.

It looked as if Minto would cross the whitewash once more as the Italian side repeatedly barrelled towards the Ospreys defence, but Benetton eventually settled for another penalty.

Ospreys gathered momentum towards the end of the second half as they looked to bounce back from two successive PRO14 defeats, but the Treviso team’s defence was impenetrable.

It was Keelan Giles who broke the deadlock, showing his agility as he broke through to take his side up to the 22, where Ospreys were awarded a penalty which Davies duly converted.

Young wingers Sperandio and Giles found themselves in a one-on-one when McKinley sent a cross-field kick as the half-time whistle approached and the Welshman did well to deal with the threat.

After the break, Justin Tipuric showed the talent which had caught Warren Gatland’s eye during Lions selection when he grabbed an interception in the 54th minute, but the ball was eventually spilled forward.

When Dan Evans broke through the wall of green again, it seemed a try was certain and Ospreys made it across the line, but the ball was held up.

The four-time league winners racked up 19 phases as they battled to score a try before the final whistle until Benetton won the turnover.

The hosts swiftly flipped the Ospreys’ attack, with a fleet-footed Angelo Esposito making it within metres of the whitewash.

Benetton had to settle for just one try on this occasion, but replacement Martin Banks added three more points for good measure.

Read more at www.pro14rugby.org

Preview – Top14 Round 2

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This weekend’s Top 14 action will see a rematch of last season’s final as Clermont face Toulon at Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin on Sunday.

Six games are also played on Saturday with Stade Français taking on La Rochelle being the standout contest.

Saturday

Agen vs Racing 92
Stade Français vs La Rochelle
Castres vs Bordeaux-Bègles
Lyon vs Brive
Montpellier vs Oyonnax
Toulouse vs Pau

Sunday

Clermont Auvergne vs Toulon

Agen vs Racing 92
Stade Armandie, Agen

Following Agen’s opening day reality check, which ended in Montpellier strolling to a 48-19 triumph, last season’s Pro D2 play-off winners face another tough task in round two.

Fresh from a 25-21 come-from-behind success over a strong Castres outfit, Racing will be looking to lay down an early marker and secure a third regular season victory in a row.

Having won the title in 2016, the Parisians’ away form was a concern the following campaign and it is an area they will be looking to address.

Last year’s result: Did not play
Kick-off: 14:45 local (12:45 GMT)
Referee: Pierre Brousset
Assistant referees: Regis Guatelli, Eric Soulan
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure

Stade Français vs La Rochelle
Stade Jean-Bouin, Paris

La Rochelle hinted that last season’s campaign was not a fluke by defeating Brive 19-10 at the Stade Amedee-Domenech in round one.

With an encounter against a side possibly reeling from the events of the previous campaign, two away victories in a row would set them up perfectly for the year ahead.

Greg Cooper’s men still appear to be finding their feet following Hans-Peter Wild’s takeover and were ultimately out-fought by Lyon last weekend.

Stade will be looking to avenge that opening day home defeat and reward their loyal supporters but, for a squad which has not seen significant investment, it may well prove to be a step too far.

Last year’s result: Stade Français won 31-26
Kick-off: 16:45 local (14:45 GMT)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal
Assistant referees: Vincent Blasco-Baque, Thierry Guilloton
TMO: Laurent Sclafer

Castres vs Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Pierre-Antoine, Castres

Bordeaux will go to the Stade Pierre-Antoine full of confidence after putting a summer of upheaval behind them by shocking defending champions Clermont 32-25.

They will face a side who themselves almost got the perfect start but, despite being 18-3 up against Racing at one stage, Christophe Urios’ men ultimately succumbed to the 2016 Top 14 winners.

UBB have disappointingly missed out on the play-offs over the last two years following significant investment, but a victory here over a team that finished in the top-six in 2016-17 would be a large step forward.

Last year’s result: Castres won 33-27
Kick-off: 18:45 local (16:45 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite
Assistant referees: Hervé Lasausa Lespy Labaylette, Akim Hadj-Bachir
TMO: Mourad Zitouni

Lyon vs Brive
Matmut Stadium de Gerland, Lyon

If Lyon are to be realistic play-off challengers, you would think that an improvement on last season’s 15-all draw with Brive would be absolutely vital. And on the basis of last weekend’s results, you wouldn’t back against it.

Pierre Mignoni’s side were impressive in overcoming Stade Français in Paris while Saturday’s opponents went down to La Rochelle at their usually impenetrable fortress.

Brive have produced the odd shock away result and their triumph over Clermont towards the latter end of the previous campaign was particularly noteworthy, but Les Loups appear too strong this time around.

Last year’s result: Lyon and Brive drew 15-15
Kick-off: 18:45 local (16:45 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Dufort
Assistant referees: Laurent Millotte, Bruno Gabaldon
TMO: Eric Gonthier

Montpellier vs Oyonnax
Altrad Stadium, Montpellier

Firstly Agen and now Oyonnax, both at home, the fixtures could not have fallen any kinder for Vern Cotter in his first season in charge.

Montpellier comfortably dispatched one of the promoted sides last weekend and it is hard to imagine them not repeating the feat against the other Top 14 newcomers.

Last season’s Pro D2 winners gained, on the face of it, a creditable draw with Toulouse in round one, but they would have been disappointed not to have gone away with an even better result.

For one, they led 23-16 with just six minutes to go, while it also remains to be seen how good Les Rouge et Noir will prove to be in 2017/18. A tough evening awaits for Oyonnax.

Last year’s result: Did not play
Kick-off: 18:45 local (16:45 GMT)
Referee: Ludovic Cayre
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona, Arnaud Blondel
TMO: Patrick Dellac

Toulouse vs Pau
Stade Ernest-Wallon, Toulouse

This is an important game for both teams, even this early into the season. Although Toulouse did not lose in the opening round, a draw against promoted Oyonnax represented a frustrating start for Ugo Mola’s men.

With the pressure on the head coach to improve on their shoddy 12th place from the previous campaign, Les Rouge et Noir need a positive start to the year.

A victory over Pau would ease the strain but it is no guarantee with them up against a talented side who are aiming for the play-offs in 2017/18.

Simon Mannix’s charges were completely outclassed by an impressive Toulon in the opening round and another away game is not ideal after such a defeat, but a repeat of last season’s result is not out of the question.

Last year’s result: Pau won 20-10
Kick-off: 20:45 local (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Cyril Lafon
Assistant referees: Sebastien Minery, Laurent Perrin
TMO: Eric Briquet-Campin

Clermont Auvergne vs Toulon
Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand

One of the games of the season and it’s only the start of September. It should be an absolute humdinger and not a repeat of what happened last year when Clermont thrashed a disorganised and forlorn Toulon.

Under new head coach Fabien Galthié, the three-time European champions seem to be revitalised and that was in evidence in their opening encounter.

Having comfortably defeated Pau 41-14, Galthié’s men will now look for revenge on the side that beat them in the 2017 final.

However, Clermont are a club that pride themselves on their record at the Marcel Michelin and Franck Azema will demand a response from their round one loss to Bordeaux.

Last year’s result: Clermont won 30-6
Kick-off: 16:50 local (14:50 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzere
Assistant referees: Maxime Chalon, Laurent Breil
TMO: Eric Gauzins

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Toulon starts Top14 with a bang

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Toulon got their Top 14 campaign off to an impressive start when they claimed a 41-14 victory over Pau at Stade Mayol on Sunday.

In an entertaining game, played at a frenetic pace, Toulon were full value for their win outscoring their visitors four tries to two with Anthony Belleau finishing with a 21 point haul after slotting five penalties and three conversions and Chris Ashton crossed for a deserved brace.

Toulon were fastest out of the blocks and raced into a 9-0 lead after Belleau slotted three penalties inside the opening 15 minutes.

The homeside continued to dominate and shortly after Belleau’s third penalty Hugo Bonneval and Vincent Clerc traded passes before Bonneval crossed for the opening try.

Toulon extended their lead in the 23rd minute when Marcel Van der Merwe barged over from a maul deep inside Pau’s 22. Three minutes before half-time, former Toulon flanker Pierrick Gunther opened Pau’s account when he crossed for a deserved try off the back of a lineout drive.

Colin Slade added the exttras which meant Toulon led 23-7 at the interval. Belleau extended Toulon’s lead courtesy of his fourth penalty in the 46th minute but Pau struck back two minutes later when Florian Nicot dotted down after Julien Tomas did well in the build-up.

Belleau added his fifth penalty on the hour-mark and Toulon controlled proceedings during the final quarter. Ashton got his name on the scoresheet when he intercepted a wayward pass from Slade – close to Pau’s 10-metre line – before outpacing the cover defence and crossing for a deserved try.

And the former Saracens wing sealed Toulon’s win in the 68th minute when he gathered a pass from Belleau before diving over in the right-hand corner.

The scorers:

For Toulon:
Tries: 
Bonneval, Van der Merwe, Ashton 2,
Cons: Belleau 3
Pens: Belleau 5

For Pau:
Tries: 
Gunther, Nicot
Cons: Slade 2

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Lambie request to be released from Springbok and Sharks

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Patrick Lambie is looking set to go to France after he officially requested to be released by SARU and the Sharks.

Netwerk24 reported that he wants to joining French giants Racing 92 and to do that he needs to be released from his contracts at the Sharks and Springboks.

He still have another two years contract with the Sharks and Springboks.

It is unsure if he has been given the green light yet. With the French Top14 started yesterday he would want this to be resolved quickly to join them

 

Lambie has said in this week that the headaches is no more and that he is doing well.

Full Story

 

 

Top 14 Wrap week1

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The opening Saturday of the Top 14 saw wins picked up by La Rochelle, Montpellier, Racing 92, Stade Français and Bordeaux-Bègles.

Earlier in the day Oyonnax and Toulouse played out a draw.

Results

Oyonnax 23-23 Toulouse
Brive 10-19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 48-19 Agen
Racing 92 25-21 Castres
Stade Français 16-25 Lyon
Bordeaux-Bègles 32-25 Clermont Auvergne

Brive 10-19 La Rochelle
Stade Amedee-Domenech, Brive

La Rochelle and Arthur Retiere picked up from where they left off last season by producing an impressive display in seeing off Brive 19-10.

Semi-finalists in 2016/17, Patrice Collazo’s men have set out with the intention of improving on that performance, and this triumph at the Stade Amedee-Domenech once again showed their capabilities.

They were made to work by a typically dogged home side, who prevented their opponents from gaining too much front-foot ball before the interval, but the visitors moved away in the second period.

Retiere opened La Rochelle’s account for the season early on by scampering over, but Samuel Marques’ penalty kept the hosts in contention at the break.

Despite only being four points in arrears, Nicolas Godignon’s team were on the back foot at the beginning of the second period and Retiere touched down once more.

Although Karlen Asieshvili managed to get a try back for Brive, Alexi Bales sealed an excellent win for La Rochelle.

The scorers:

For Brive:
Try: Asieshvili
Con: Marques
Pen: Marques
Yellow Cards: Da Ros, Lapeyre

For La Rochelle:
Tries: Retiere 2, Bales
Cons: Goillot, James
Yellow Cards: Sazy, Qovu

Brive: 15 Benjamin Lapeyre, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Arnaud Mignardi, 12 Seremaia Burotu, 11 Alfie Mafi, 10 Nicolas Bezy, 9 Samuel Marques, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Petrus Hauman, 6 Said Hireche, 5 Damien Lagrange, 4 Johan Snyman, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Francois Da Ros, 1 Vivien Devisme
Replacements: 16 Thomas Acquier, 17 Karlen Asieshvili, 18 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 19 Poutasi Luafutu, 20 Florian Cazenave, 21 Matthieu Ugalde, 22 Thomas Laranjeira, 23 Soso Bekoshvili

La Rochelle: 15 Arthur Retiere, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Eliott Roudil, 10 Jeremy Sinzelle, 9 Jean Victor Goillot, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Zeno Kieft, 6 Levani Botia, 5 William Demotte, 4 Romain Sazy, 3 Lekso Kaulashvili, 2 Hikairo Forbes, 1 Dany Priso
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Mike Corbel, 18 Jone Qovu, 19 Mathieu Tanguy, 20 Alexi Bales, 21 Brock James, 22 Paul Jordaan, 23 Luc Mousset

Referee: Alexandre Ruiz
Assistant Referees: Ludovic Cayre, Akim Hadj-Bachir
TMO: Patrick Dellac

Montpellier 48-19 Agen
Altrad Stadium, Montpellier

Montpellier gave Agen a stark reminder of the difficulties they will face this season by thrashing last season’s Pro D2 play-off winners 48-19.

At the same time, Vern Cotter’s men displayed their own title credentials, scoring seven tries in a confident display.

It was effectively game over by half-time with Nemani Nadolo, Joe Tomane and Benjamin Fall going over, while Benoit Paillaugue added a conversion and a penalty before Ruan Pienaar entered the fray to show his qualities.

Facundo Bosch did touch down for the visitors but Martin Devergie and Alexandre Dumoulin tries were just reward for the hosts’ superiority.

Although Julien Heriteau and Tamaz Mchedlidze secured a couple of consolation efforts, Romain Ruffenach and Wiaan Liebenberg rounded off a comfortable win for Montpellier.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Tries: Nadolo, Tomane, Fall, Devergie, Dumoulin, Ruffenach, Liebenberg
Cons: Paillaugue, Pienaar 4
Pen: Paillaugue

For Agen:
Tries: Bosch, Heriteau, Mchedlidze
Cons: McIntyre, Russell
Yellow Card: Cedaro

Montpellier: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Alexandre Dumoulin, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Martin Devergie, 7 Wiaan Liebenberg, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Konstantine Mikautadze, 3 Antoine Guillamon, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Gregory Fichten
Replacements: 16 Romain Ruffenach, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Nico Janse van Rensburg, 19 Kevin Kornath, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Yvan Reilhac, 22 Henri Immelman, 23 Mohamed Haouas

Agen: 15 Mathieu Lamoulie, 14 Vilikisa Salawa, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Julien Heriteau, 11 George Tilsley, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Akapusi Qera, 7 Vincent Farre, 6 Antoine Miquel, 5 Denis Marchois, 4 Thomas Murday, 3 Dave Ryan, 2 Facundo Bosch, 1 Quentin Bethune
Replacements: 16 Loick Jammes, 17 Morgan Phelipponneau, 18 Leandro Cedaro, 19 Antoine Erbani, 20 Hugo Verdu, 21 Jeremy Russell, 22 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 23 Vakhtangi Akhobadze

Referee: Tual Trainini
Assistant Referees: Cyril Lafon, Jean-Luc Rebollal
TMO: Eric Briquet-Campin

Racing 92 25-21 Castres
Stade Yves Du Manoir, Colombes

Racing 92 produced a superb late fight-back to overturn a 21-13 second half deficit and defeat Castres 25-21.

Christophe Urios’ men controlled much of the encounter and deserved the 18-3 lead given to them by two quick-fire Armand Batlle tries.

The hosts, having been so lacklustre in the opening period, needed a response and Anthony Tuitavake provided it, reducing the arrears to eight points at the break.

Dan Carter and Benjamin Urdapilleta traded penalties in the second half before a late surge saw Racing take the spoils.

Firstly, Juan Imhoff crossed the whitewash and then Louis Dupichot scored – after Anthony Jelonch had been sin-binned – to complete the comeback.

The scorers:

For Racing 92:
Tries: Tuitavake, Imhoff, Dupichot
Cons: Carter 2
Pens: Carter 2
Yellow Card: Baubigny

For Castres:
Tries: Batlle 2
Con: Urdapilleta
Pens: Urdapilleta 3
Yellow Card: Jelonch

Racing: 15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Remi Tales, 9 Xavier Chauveau, 8 So’otala Fa’aso’o, 7 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Edwin Maka, 4 Boris Palu, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Vasil Kakovin
Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Georges-Henri Colombe, 18 Leone Nakarawa, 19 Yannick Nyanga, 20 Teddy Iribaren, 21 Albert Vulivuli, 22 Teddy Thomas, 23 Census Johnston

Castres: 15 Julien Dumora, 14 Armand Batlle, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Taylor Paris, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Mathieu Babillot, 6 Yannick Caballero, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Loic Jacquet, 3 Yohan Montes, 2 Kevin Firmin, 1 Antoine Tichit
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Tudor Stroe, 18 Christophe Samson, 19 Anthony Jelonch, 20 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 21 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 22 David Smith, 23 Damien Tussac

Referee: Maxime Chalon
Assistant Referees: Francois Bouzac, Laurent Perrin
TMO: Laurent Sclafer

Stade Français 16-25 Lyon
Stade Jean Bouin, Paris

Lyon produced a solid performance to overcome Stade Français and get their campaign off to an ideal start following a 25-16 triumph.

Some at Stade were probably just content to be there after the off-field turmoil of last season, but they were excellent in the opening exchanges of this encounter and moved into a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.

Waisea Nayacalevu touched down and Morne Steyn added eight points from the boot before the visitors finally mounted a response.

They scored 17 unanswered points via Thibaut Regard and Alexis Palisson, with Lionel Beauxis converting both and also adding a penalty.

Steyn did reduce the arrears but Albertus Buckle’s try and Frederic Michalak’s late three-pointer gave Lyon the victory.

The scorers:

For Stade Français:
Try: Nayacalevu
Con: Steyn
Pens: Steyn 3
Yellow Card: Arias

For Lyon:
Tries: Regard, Palisson, Buckle
Cons: Beauxis 2
Pens: Beauxis 2
Yellow Card: Michalak

Stade Français: 15 Djibril Camara, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu, 12 Theo Millet, 11 Marvin O’Connor, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Sekou Macalou, 5 Alexandre Flanquart, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Maxime Gau, 1 Zurabi Zhvania
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Hugh Pyle, 19 Steevy Cerqueira, 20 Arthur Coville, 21 Jimmy Yobo, 22 Tony Ensor, 23 Lorenzo Cittadini

Lyon: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Toby Arnold, 13 Rudi Wulf, 12 Thibaut Regard, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Baptiste Couilloud, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Dylan Cretin, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Felix Lambey, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Alexandre Menini
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Albertus Buckle, 18 Hendrik Roodt, 19 Taiasina Tuifua, 20 Frederic Michalak, 21 Hemani Paea, 22 Theo Belan, 23 Clement Ric

Referee: Sebastien Minery
Assistant Referees: Thomas Chereque, Philippe Milani
TMO: Denis Grenouillet

Bordeaux-Bègles 32-25 Clermont
Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux

Clermont started their title defence with a defeat after Bordeaux-Bègles produced an outstanding second half display to secure a 32-25 triumph.

UBB, who went into the game having lost a number of key players in the summer, got off to an excellent start, going 5-0 ahead through Fa’asiu Fuatai.

However, Clermont are champions for a reason and two tries in as many minutes by Peceli Yato and Remy Grosso took them into the lead.

Simon Hickey did reduce the arrears from the tee but Patricio Fernandez responded with two of his own as Clermont moved 18-8 in front.

Bordeaux continued to press, though, and the pressure resulted in Benjamin Kayser receiving a yellow card. While the Auvergne hooker was off the field, Hickey kicked three penalties as the hosts brought themselves back into the contest.

Franck Azema’s men were struggling for continuity and the home side duly pounced, scoring two further tries from Peni Ravai and Jean-Baptiste Dubie to secure the win.

The visitors did have the final word via Michael Simutoga, which garnered a losing bonus-point, but the home side deservedly went away with the victory.

The scorers:

For Bordeaux-Bègles:
Tries: Fuatai, Ravai, Dubie
Con: Schoeman
Pens: Hickey 5

For Clermont:
Tries: Yato, Grosso, Simutoga
Cons: Fernandez, Lopez
Pens: Fernandez 2
Yellow Card: Kayser

Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Darly Domvo, 14 Fa’asiu Fuatai, 13 Apisai Naqalevu, 12 Julien Rey, 11 Jean-Baptiste Dubie, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Mahamadou Diaby, 5 Jandre Marais, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Adrien Pelissie, 1 Sebastien Taofifenua
Replacements: 16 Florian Dufour, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Cyril Cazeaux, 19 Marco Tauleigne, 20 Gauthier Doubrere, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jean-Pascal Barrague, 23 Jean-Baptiste Poux

Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Alivereti Raka, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 Remy Grosso, 10 Patricio Fernandez, 9 Charlie Cassang, 8 Peceli Yato, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Viktor Kolelishvili, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray , 17 Etienne Falgoux, 18 Maxence Barjaud, 19 Damien Chouly, 20 Greig Laidlaw, 21 Camille Lopez, 22 Atila Septar, 23 Michael Simutoga

Referee: Thomas Charabas
Assistant Referees: Pierre Brousset, Laurent Breil
TMO: Eric Gonthier

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Steenkamp signs with Stade

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Former Springbok prop Gurthro Steenkamp has sign with Stade Francais as a medical joker ahead of the start of the Top14 in France.

Steenkamp, 36 years old will stand in for another South African Heinke van der Merwe.

 

He will be able to train today (Monday) and will be available for the first match of the Top 14 at home to Lyon on Saturday,” Stade Francais said in a statement.

Steenkamp is a well experience international prop who made 53 appearances for the Springboks and was also part of the 2007 World Cup winning squad of Jake White. He played the last six season for Toulouse.

 

Heraghty confirmed with move to Stade

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Stade Français have confirmed the signing of former England international fly-half Shane Geraghty, who joins them as a medical joker.

The 30-year-old, who has played for London Irish twice, Northampton, Brive and Bristol, comes in to replace injured player Meyer Bosman.

Geraghty, who made his Test bow in 2007, has represented England six times and made his last appearance versus New Zealand in 2009.

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