Pau picked up an impressive 32-27 victory over Top 14 hopefuls Montpellier while Toulouse beat pace-setters Clermont 26-20 on Saturday.
Pau 32-27 Montpellier
Castres 47-18 Bayonne
Stade Français 12-10 Brive
Toulouse 26-20 Clermont
La Rochelle v Grenoble
Toulon v Racing 92
Pau 32-27 Montpellier
Stade du Hameau, Pau
Montpellier ended the year with a disappointing 32-27 loss on the road at Pau as their Top 14 title hopes suffered a setback on Saturday.
Pau led 22-20 at the break in a high-scoring first-half that saw five tries scored, with Tom Taylor’s late kick edging the hosts in front.
After two penalties from Montpellier’s Demetri Catrakilis, Watisoni Votu got the ball rolling for Pau when he crossed after seven minutes.
But Pierre Spies responded for Montpellier on 23 minutes before Yvan Watremez dived over on the half-hour as the visitors went 20-12 up, the latter try coming after Louis Dupichot scored for Pau. He added another on 33 minutes before Taylor’s late penalty nudged them ahead.
Taylor extended the gap to five points when he slotted a penalty on 51 minutes and they went further in front seven minutes later when James Coughlin crossed for a converted try that made it 32-20. Suddenly title chasing Montpellier were 12 points down at Stade du Hameau.
Replacement Duhan Van Der Merwe got them back in it on 72 minutes when he scored a try, converted by Frans Steyn, but Pau held on.
Tries: Votu, Dupichot 2, Coughlin
Cons: Taylor 3
Pens: Taylor 2
Tries: Spies, Watremez, Van der Merwe
Cons: Catrakilis 2, Steyn
Pens: Catrakilis 2
Pau: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Louis Dupichot, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Jale Kaikadavu Vatubua, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Thibault Daubagna, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Paddy Butler, 5 Julien Pierre, 4 Fabrice Metz, 3 Malik Hamadache, 2 Thomas Bianchin, 1 Jamie Mackintosh
Replacements: 16 Quentin Lespiaucq, 17 Geoffrey Moise, 18 Masalosalo Tutaia, 19 Dan Ramsay, 20 Ben Mowen, 21 Charly Malie, 22 Unalotokipulotu Vea Teutau, 23 Sylvain Charlet
Montpellier: 15 Henri Immelman, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Joe Tomane, 12 François Steyn, 11 Joffrey Michel, 10 Demetri Catrakalis, 9 Tomas O’Leary, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Antoine Battut, 3 Jannie Du Plessis, 2 Romain Ruffenach, 1 Yvan Watremez
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Gregory Fichten, 18 Julien Delannoy, 19 Nicolaas Janse Van Rensburg, 20 Nic White, 21 Yvan Reilhac, 22 Duhan Van Der Merwe, 23 Antoine Guillamon
Referee: Salem Attalah
Castres 47-18 Bayonne
Stade Pierre Antoine, Castres
Castres scored seven tries in their 47-18 rout of Bayonne on Saturday.
Bayonne got off to the perfect start when PJ van Lill went over as early as the second minute to get his team on the scoresheet.
Castres quickly hit back with two tries in the space of three minutes when Pierre Berard and Jody Jenneker scored to give the hosts the lead. Benjamin Urdapilleta converted both tries.
Willie du Plessis responded with two penalties for Bayonne in quick succession.
Robert Ebersohn and Afusipa Taumoepeau added two more tries early in the second half for Castres before they pulled further away from Bayonne with tries from Steve Mafi and Rodrigo Ortega, Urdapilleta slotting the extras for the latter three.
Baptiste Chouzenoux crossed for a late score before Berard scored his second to rub further salt in Bayonne’s wounds.
Tries: Berard 2, Jenneker, Ebersohn, Taumoepeau, Mafi, Ortega
Cons: Urdapilleta 5, Dumora
Tries: Van Lill, Chouzenoux
Pens: Du Plessis 2
Yellow Card: Lovobalavu
Castres: 15 Pierre Berard, 14 Remy Grosso, 13 Afusipa Faha Ivalu Taumoepeau, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 David Smith, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Alexandre Bias, 6 Yannick Caballero, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Thibault Lassalle, 3 Daniel Kotze, 2 Jody Jenneker, 1 Antoine Tichit
Replacements: 16 Brice Mach, 17 Mihaïta Lazar, 18 Victor Moreaux, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Julien Seron, 21 Julien Dumora, 22 Thomas Combezou, 23 Yohan Montes
Bayonne: 15 Benjamin Thiery, 14 Martin Laveau, 13 Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 12 Thibault Lacroix, 11 Julien Jane, 10 Willem Du Plessis, 9 Guillaume Rouet, 8 John Beattie, 7 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 PJ Van Lill, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Manu Leiataua, 1 Jerome Schuster
Replacements: 16 Simon Labouyrie, 17 Aretz Iguiniz, 18 Guillaume Ducat, 19 Jean Joseph Marmouyet, 20 Emmanuel Saubusse, 21 Raphael Lagarde, 22 Romain Martial, 23 Tomaakino Taufua
Referee: Adrien Descottes
Stade Français 12-10 Brive
Stade Jean Bouin, Paris
A last-minute penalty from Morné Steyn helped Stade Français come from behind and defeat Brive 12-10 at the Stade Jean Bouin.
Brive led 10-3 at half-time thanks to a 39th-minute try from Benjamin Lapeyre that was converted by Gaëtan Germain, who slotted a penalty with 14 minutes gone. In reply Stade had only a Steyn to speak of in terms of points in the first 40 as they struggled to create chances.
Steyn though was on target again in the 54th minute to cut the gap to four points and then just one when he struck again 10 minutes later.
It looked like Brive would hold on for a narrow victory in Paris but with time almost up, Steyn then fired over the match-winning penalty goal.
For Stade Français:
Pens: Steyn 4
Stade Français: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Waisea Vuidravuwalu, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Jeremy Sinzelle, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Raphael Lakafia, 6 Sekou Macalou, 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Remi Bonfils, 1 Emmanuel Felsina
Replacements: 16 Laurent Sempere, 17 Zurabi Zhvania, 18 Pascal Papé, 19 Mathieu De Giovanni, 20 Clement Daguin, 21 Jules Plisson, 22 Julien Arias, 23 Giorgi Melikidze
Brive: 15 Gaëtan Germain, 14 Benjamin Lapeyre, 13 Arnaud Mignardi, 12 Seremaia Nakala Burotu, 11 Guillaume Namy, 10 Thomas Laranjeira, 9 Teddy Iribaren, 8 Petrus Hauman, 7 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 6 Said Hireche, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Julien Ledevedec, 3 Damien Jourdain, 2 Guillaume Ribes, 1 Vivien Devisme
Replacements: 16 Francois Da Ros, 17 Damien Lavergne, 18 Jan Uys, 19 Sisaro Koyamaibole, 20 Jean Baptiste Pejoine, 21 Romain Cabannes, 22 Benito Masilevu, 23 Albert Toetu
Referee: Laurent Cardona
Toulouse 26-20 Clermont
Stadium Municipal, Toulouse
Toulouse picked up a much-needed victory as they saw off table-toppers Clermont 26-20 at Stadium Municipal on Saturday.
First-half tries from Yoann Huget and Artur Bonneval set them on their way before Gaël Fickou struck soon after the break to give Toulouse a welcome buffer, which they held on to as Clermont suffer only their fourth defeat of the Top 14 campaign.
The game had started well for Clermont when Peceli Yato crossed on 18 minutes but the visitors were well beaten in the end, with a late penalty try, converted by Morgan Parra, not even giving them the consolation of a bonus-point as they came up short.
Tries: Huget, Bonneval, Fickou
Pens: Fritz, Doussain, Bezy
Tries: Yato, Penalty Try
Cons: Fernandez, Parra
Pens: Fernandez 2
Toulouse: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Arthur Bonneval, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Gaël Fickou, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Jean Marc Doussain, 9 Sebastien Bezy, 8 Francois Cros, 7 Talalelei Gray, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Iosefa Tekori, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Piula Faasalele, 19 Gregory Lamboley, 20 Carl Axtens, 21 Luke McAlister, 22 Yann David, 23 Nicolaas Johannes Van Dyk
Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Adrien Plante, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Isaia Toeava, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Patricio Fernandez, 9 Charlie Cassang, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Peceli Yato, 5 Paul Jedrasiak, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Clement Ric, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 19 Judicael Cancoriet, 20 Arthur Iturria, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Rémi Lamerat, 23 Aaron Jarvis
Referee: Pascal Gauzère
Toulon moved up to fourth place in the Top 14 standings after they edged out Racing 92 at Stade Félix Mayol, winning 17-11 on Sunday.
Mathieu Bastareaud was in excellent form but a try from centre partner Ma’a Nonu and Leigh Halfpenny’s 12 points saw Toulon to victory.
Racing 92 leave with nothing as their campaign is still to ignite. The Paris side remain in eighth position after six losses in their 15 fixtures.
The game incredibly remained scoreless until the 27th minute as Racing rode their luck at times on their own try-line when under pressure. Toulon may have felt hard done to by referee Romain Poite as more than one cynical offence helped the visitors keep their whitewash intact.
Racing subsequently weathered the storm and in fact took the lead when Dan Carter landed a penalty before Halfpenny hit back soon after.
3-3 was probably a fair reflection of the opening half-hour and Carter and Halfpenny would trade shots again soon after, the latter following a yellow card being given to Racing full-back Brice Dulin for making contact with his opposite number while the Welsh star was in the air.
Toulon though finished the half in superb form when Nonu powered over on the left wing but in a bizarre moment, the conversion was off-target due largely to the theme tune from Star Wars being played over the tannoy just before Halfpenny began his run up to strike the ball.
Halfpenny hit the post with his first attempt in the second-half, after a scrum penalty, so the score remained 11-6 until the 56th minute.
Those next points came from Racing 92 via a maul that Dimitri Szarzewski was at the tail of and with Carter’s extras it was a tied game.
Halfpenny nudged Toulon back in front two minutes later though after a dangerous tackle in a match that looked destined to go to the wire.
But the Welshman was on-target again on 67 minutes before Toulon stood firm to start the new year with a much-needed triumph at home.
Pens: Halfpenny 4
For Racing 92:
Pens: Carter 2
Yellow Card: Dulin (35 min)
Toulon: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Samu Manoa, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Mamuka Gorgodze, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Laurent DelBoulbes
Replacements: 16 Jean Charles Orioli, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Juandre Kruger, 19 Charles Ollivon, 20 Maxime Mermoz, 21 Vincent Clerc, 22 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 23 Manasa Saulo
Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Albert Vulivuli, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Yannick Nyanga, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Eddy Ben Arous
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Matthieu Voisin, 20 Benjamin Dambielle, 21 Joe Rokocoko, 22 Antonie Claassen, 23 Luc Ducalcon
Referee: Romain Poite
La Rochelle moved level on points with Clermont after they condemned Grenoble to a 12th defeat of the Top 14 season with a 40-3 win on Sunday.
In front of their Stade Marcel Deflandre fans, the in-form hosts claimed their eighth victory of the league campaign to go above Montpellier.
Leading 16-3 at the interval thanks to a penalty try and 11 points from full-back Zack Holmes’ boot, La Rochelle were in control throughout.
They added their second try of the game in the 49th minute when centre Levani Botia went over the line, which made it 23-3 with the extras.
There was more to come from La Rochelle too as tries from wing Gabriel Lacroix and flank Kevin Gourdon sealed a bonus-point success before wing Kini Murimurivalu fired over a late drop-goal to take his side up to 40 points.
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Penalty Try, Botia, Lacroix, Gourdon
Cons: Holmes 4
Pens: Holmes 3
Drop Goal: Murimurivalu
La Rochelle: 15 Zack Holmes, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Pierre Aguillon, 12 Levani Botia, 11 Kini Murimurivalu, 10 Brock James, 9 Alexis Bales, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Romain Sazy, 5 Mathieu Tanguy, 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Hikairo Forbes, 1 Mike Corbel
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Leandro Cedaro, 19 Damien Lagrange, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Steeve Barry, 22 David Raikuna, 23 Lekso Kaulashvili
Grenoble: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Lucas Dupont, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Nigel Hunt, 11 Xavier Mignot, 10 Jonathan Wisniewski, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Dylan Hayes, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Aly Muldowney, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Walter Desmaison, 2 Loick Jammes, 1 Alexandre Dardet
Replacements: 16 Arnaud Heguy, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Mickael Capelli, 19 Fabien Alexandre, 20 Lilian Saseras, 21 Gilles Bosch, 22 Armand Batlle, 23 Dayna Edwards
Referee: Pierre Brousset