There were big away wins for Montepellier and Castres, while Racing 92 stole a late draw at La Rochelle on Saturday.
Pau 40-35 Clermont
Stade Français 51-5 Bayonne
Lyon 19-23 Castres
Grenoble 37-51 Montpellier
La Rochelle 23-23 Racing 92
Toulouse v Brive
Toulon v Bordeaux-Bègles
Pau 40-35 Clermont
Stade du Hameau, Pau
Pau had to dig deep before eventully claiming a hard-fought 40-35 victory over Clermont at Stade du Hameau in Pau.
In a thrilling clash in which momentum between the two sides ebbed and flowed throughout, Pau got the rub of the green in the end and eventually outscored their visitors by five tries to four.
David Strettle scored a hat-trick of tries for Clermont but it wasn’t enough to secure victory for his side. Watisoni Votu and Strettle crossed for early tries and although the ex England wing would cross for another five-pointer before the break, tries from former All Blacks Colin Slade and Conrad Smith gave Pau a 21-17 lead at half-time.
A Sitaleki Timani try would narrow the gap to two points, after Tom Taylor slotted a penalty for the hosts. Pau continued to dominate and led 32-22 by the half-hour mark after Thomas Bianchin scored a try which Taylor converted before adding another penalty.
Jale Vatubua’s 65th minute try secured the win but Clermont did not surrender and Strettle’s third try and accurate goalkicking from Camille Lopez and Morgan Parra secured a bonus point for Clermont.
Tries: Votu, Slade, Smith, Bianchin, Vatubua
Cons: Taylor 3
Pens: Taylor 3
Tries: Strettle 3, Timani
Cons: Lopez 3
Pens: Lopez 2, Parra
Pau: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Louis Dupichot, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Ben Mowen, 5 Julien Pierre, 4 Fabrice Metz, 3 Sylvain Charlet, 2 Thomas Bianchin, 1 Jamie Mackintosh
Replacements: 16 Quentin Lespiaucq, 17 Chris King, 18 Masalosalo Tutaia, 19 Paddy Butler, 20 Thibault Daubagna, 21 Charly Malie, 22 Mosese Ratuvou, 23 Malik Hamadache
Clermont: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 David Strettle, 13 Aurelien Rougerie, 12 Damian Penaud, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Camille Gerondeau, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Clement Ric, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Etienne Falgoux, 18 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 19 Alexandre Lapandry, 20 Morgan Parra, 21 Nick Abendanon, 22 Alivereti Raka, 23 Aaron Jarvis
Referee: Pierre Brousset
Stade Français 51-5 Bayonne
Stade Jean Bouin, Paris
The game was over as early as the 18th minute when Bayonne’s Grégory Arganese was sent off with a red card to leave his side with a monumental task of getting something out of this match.
They failed, as Stade took full advantage of playing against 14 men. The hosts raced to a 22-0 half-time lead with tries from Will Genia, Hugo Bonneval and Jonathan Ross.
They stepped up a gear in the second half, scoring a further five tries through Rabah Slimani, Jeremy Sinzelle, Josaia Raisuqe, Sylvain Nicolas and Waisea Nayacalevu.
Bayonne’s only reply came courtesy of Romain Martial in the 65th minute, but it meant nothing in the bigger scheme of things.
For Stade Français:
Tries: Genia, Bonneval, Ross, Slimani, Sinzelle, Raisuqe, Nicolas, Nayacalevu
Cons: Plisson 4
Yellow Card: Slimani
Red Card: Arganese
Stade Français: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Josaia Raisuqe, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Jeremy Sinzelle, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jonathan Ross, 7 Raphael Lakafia, 6 Sylvain Nicolas, 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Laurent Sempere, 1 Emmanuel Felsina
Replacements: 16 Remy Bonfils, 17 Heinke Van der Merwe, 18 Mathieu De Giovanni, 19 Sekou Macalou, 20 Julien Dupuy, 21 Morne Steyn, 22 Julien Arias, 23 Giorgi Melikidze
Bayonne: 15 Romain Martial, 14 Martin Laveau, 13 Felix Le Bourhis, 12 Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 11 Bastien Fuster, 10 Raphael Lagarde, 9 Guillaume Rouet, 8 John Beattie, 7 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 6 Jean Jo Marmouyet, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Pablo Huete, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Grégory Arganese, 1 Aretz Iguiniz
Replacements: 16 Simon Labouyrie, 17 Jérome Schuster, 18 Pelu Taele, 19 Dion Evrard Oulai, 20 Manu Saubusse, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Julien Jane, 23 Ben Broster
Referee: Mathieu Raynal
Lyon 19-23 Castres
Matmut Stadium, Lyon
The manner of the win will have boosted Castres who were twice reduced to 14 men, but still managed to sneak an important away win over Lyon.
Jody Jenneker was sin-binned in the 18th minute, but the visitors only conceded two penalties in his absence. Lyon were again given an advantage 14 minutes later when Antoine Tichit was yellow carded.
Again they scored two penalties, but this time Castres scored a try of their own to reduce the deficit to 12-10 at the break.
Rory Kockott’s try right after half time gave Castres a seven point lead before Geoffrey Palis added two penalties shortly after. Theo Belan brought the hosts back into the game with a try as they trailed by four, but Castres stood firm in the final 10 minutes to secure the win.
Pens: Michalak 3, Armitage
Tries: Jelonch, Kockott
Cons: Palis 2
Pens: Palis 3
Yellow Cards: Jenneker, Tichit
Lyon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Toby Arnold, 13 Theo Belan, 12 Hemani Paea, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Julien Puricelli, 5 Thibault Privat, 4 Taiasina Tuifua, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Albertus Buckle
Replacements: 16 Ti’i Paulo, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Josh Bekhuis, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Baptiste Couilloud, 21 Deon Fourie, 22 Thibault Regard, 23 David Attoub
Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 David Smith, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Remy Grosso, 10 Julien Dumora, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Anthony Jelonch, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 5 Loic Jacquet, 4 Thibault Lassalle, 3 Daniel Kotze, 2 Jody Jenneker, 1 Antoine Tichit
Replacements: 16 Brice Mach, 17 Tudor Stroe, 18 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 19 Yannick Caballero, 20 Antoine Dupont, 21 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 22 Maxime Javaux, 23 Damien Tussac
Referee: Juan Sylvestre (UAR)
Grenoble 37-51 Montpellier
Stade des Alpes, Grenoble
Chris Farrell got Grenoble off to a flying start with a try as early as the third minute. Jacques du Plessis scored Montpellier’s first try 16 minutes later before Peter Kimlin and Joseph Tomane exchanged tries to level the scores at 17-17 after half an hour.
Fulgence Ouedraogo scored before half time to give the visitors the edge, but Jonathan Wisniewski kept Grenoble in the game with two penalties of his own.
The lead changed like ping pong in the second half. Grenoble scored first through Hendrik Roodt to level the scored again before another Wisniewski gave them a slight advantage.
Konstantin Mikautadze and Timoci Nagusa scored in quick succession for Montpellier before Sisa Waqa pulled one back for Grenoble. But Nagusa’s second helped the visitors pull away before Jesse Mogg applied the finishing touches on a big win.
Tries: Farrell, Kimlin, Roodt, Waqa
Cons: Wisniewski 4
Pens: Wisniewski 3
Yellow Card: Grice
Tries: Du Plessis, Tomane, Ouedraogo, Mikautadze, Nagusa 2, Mogg
Cons: Catrakilis 5
Pens: Catrakilis 2
Yellow Card: Janse van Rensburg
Grenoble: 15 Fabien Gengenbacher, 14 Sisa Waqa, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Armand Batlle, 10 Jonathan Wisniewski, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Fabien Alexandre, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Aly Muldowney, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Dayna Edwards, 2 Loick Jammes, 1 Sona Taumalolo
Replacements: 16 Etienne Fourcade, 17 Alexandre Dardet, 18 Ben Hand, 19 Dylan Hayes, 20 Lilian Saseras, 21 Gilles Bosch, 22 Nigel Hunt, 23 Walter Desmaison
Montpellier: 15 Joffrey Michel, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Joseph Tomane, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Benjamin Fall, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic White, 8 Kelian Galletier, 7 Jacques Du Plessis, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 4 Konstantin Mikautadze, 3 Davit Kubriashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Antoine Battut, 19 Pierre Spies, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Vincent Martin, 22 Jesse Mogg, 23 Antoine Guillamon
Referee: Romain Poite
La Rochelle 23-23 Racing 92
Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle
Considering the start they had, La Rochelle will be wondering how they managed to let their lead slip as they missed out on a big win in front of their home fans.
The hosts were leading 12-0 after 25 minutes thanks to tries from Steeve Barry and Mohamed Boughanmi. Racing got themselves on the board soon afterwards with a try from Leone Nakarawa before Dan Carter and Zack Holmes exchanged penalties to give La Rochelle a 15-10 half-time lead.
Carter slotted two more penalties after the break to give Racing a narrow 16-15 lead, but it didn’t last long as Holmes kicked another penalty before Gabriel Lacroix went over to stretch the lead to 23-16 with 11 minutes to play.
Viliamu Afatia was yellow carded with six minutes left, but that deter Racing as they kept on pushing and eventually Yannick Nyanga scored in the 80th minute before Carter’s conversion sealed the comeback and secured a draw.
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Barry, Boughanmi, Lacroix
Pens: Holmes 2
Yellow Cards: Barry, Eaton
For Racing 92:
Tries: Nakarawa, Nyanga
Cons: Carter 2
Pens: Carter 3
Yellow Card: Afatia
La Rochelle: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Zack Holmes, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Steeve Barry, 10 Brock James, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 6 Jason Eaton, 5 Leandro Cedaro, 4 Romana Graham, 3 Mohamed Boughanmi, 2 Jeremie Maurouard, 1 Mike Corbel
Replacements: 16 Maxime Gau, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Mathieu Tanguy, 19 Romain Sazy, 20 Arthur Retiere, 21 Elliot Roudil, 22 Vincent Rattez, 23 Uini Atonio
Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Casey Laulala, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Yannick Nyanga, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Eddy Ben Arous
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Francois van der Merwe, 19 Antonie Claassen, 20 Xavier Chauveau, 21 Anthony Tuitavake, 22 Benjamin Dambielle, 23 Cedate Gomes Sa
Referee: Jérôme Garcès
Toulouse returned to the victory trail when they claimed a deserved 30-12 victory over Brive at Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday.
The home side dominated for large periods, were full value for their triumph and eventually outscored their visitors by five tries to two with Gael Fickou leading the charge with a brace of tries.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start though and after a sustained period of pressure, inside Toulouse’s 22, Said Hireche barged over in the corner for the opening points in the fourth minute.
The rest of the half saw Toulouse stepping up a few gears on attack and they raced into a 17-5 lead at half-time after Francois Cros, Semi Kunatani and Fickou all crossed for tries.
Five minutes in to the second half, Sebastien Bezy kicked a penalty and when Fickou scored his second try two minutes later, Toulouse were cruising as they held a comfortable 25-5 lead.
The next 25 minutes was a slugfest as both sides tried to gain the ascendancy and we had to wait until the 70th minute for the next points which came courtesy of a Sevenaia Galala try.
Gaetan Germain added the extras which gave some respectability to the score but Brive suffered another setback in the 74th minute when William Whetton was yellow carded for an illegal tackle.
Toulouse made full use of their numerical advantage and secured victory when Arthur Bonneval went over for their fifth try in the 76th minute.
Tries: Fickou 2, Cros, Kunatani, Bonneval
Tries: Hireche, Galala
Yellow Card: Whetton
Toulouse: 15 Alexis Palisson, 14 Semi Kunatani, 13 Yann David, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Arthur Bonneval, 10 Jean-Marc Doussain, 9 Sebastien Bezy, 8 Gillian Galan, 7 Francois Cros, 6 Joe Tekori, 5 Edwin Maka, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Gregory Lamboley, 19 Talalelei Gray, 20 Selevasio Tolofua, 21 Luke McAlister, 22 Florian Fritz, 23 Census Johnston
Brive: 15 Gaetan Germain, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Romain Cabannes, 12 Seremaia Burotu, 11 Guillaume Namy, 10 Nicolas Bezy, 9 Teddy Iribaren, 8 Julien Ledevedec, 7 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 6 Said Hireche, 5 Arnaud Mela, 4 Jan Uys, 3 Damien Jourdain, 2 Francois Da Ros, 1 Lucas Pointud
Replacements: 16 Thomas Acquier, 17 Karlen Asieshvili, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 William Whetton, 20 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 21 Arnaud Mignardi, 22 Sevenaia Galala, 23 Soso Bekoshvili
Referee: Adrien Descottes
Toulon consolidated their position among the frontrunners on the table when they beat Bordeaux-Bègles 37-10 at Stade Félix Mayol on Sunday.
Although the home side held the upperhand from the outset, the complexion of the match changed in the 23rd minute when UBB flanker Luke Braid received a red card for trampling on Mamuka Gorgodze’s face.
Toulon led 13-3 at the time thanks to two Leigh Halfpenny penalty and a Bryan Habana try in 20th minute which Halfpenny also converted. The visitors’ points came via a Simon Hickey penalty in the 16th minute.
As expected, Braid’s absence put huge pressure on his team-mates and 10 minutes after his exit, the home side made full use of their superior numbers when Pierre Bernard went over for their second try. Halfpenny added the extras which meant Toulon held a comfortable 20-3 lead at the interval.
To their credit, UBB did not surrender and shortly after the restart, they were rewarded when Adam Ashley-Cooper crossed for a try which Hickey converted.
That fightback did not last long though as Toulon grew stronger as the game progressed. Liam Gill crossed for a try on the hour-mark and further five-pointers from James O’Connor and Halfpenny, inside the final 10 minutes, sealed a deserved victory.
Tries: Habana, Bernard, Gill, O’Connor, Halfpenny
Cons: Halfpenny 3
Pens: Halfpenny 2
Red Card: Braid
Toulon: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Jonathan Pelissie, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Juandre Kruger, 6 Liam Gill, 5 Mamuka Gorgodze, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Marcel Van der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Florian Fresia
Replacements: 16 Jean Charles Orioli, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Romain Taofifenua, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Jimmy Yobo, 21 James O’Connor, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Manasa Saulo
Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Jayden Spence, 12 Julien Rey, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Julien Audy, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Cyril Cazeaux, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Clement Maynadier, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Loann Goujon, 20 Yann Lesgourgues, 21 Lionel Beauxis, 22 Jean-Baptiste Dubie, 23 Jean-Baptiste Poux
Referee: Laurent Cardona