Top 14, Week 12 wrap

Date published: November 6 2009

Castres proved their spot among the best was no fluke on Thursday, holding Clermont to a deserved 9-9 draw at the Stade Pierre Antoine.

Castres proved their spot among the best was no fluke on Thursday, holding Clermont to a deserved 9-9 draw at the Stade Pierre Antoine.

Meanwhile, Perpignan put paid to Toulon's recent resurgence, with a 25-9 bonus point win at the Aime-Giral.

Elsewhere, Brive won the 'battle of fear' against Bayonne 19-14, plunging the Bayonnais into crisis, while Toulouse made light work of Bourgoin at the Ernest-Wallon.

Montpellier made it three in a row by beating Montauban 19-0 and Stade Français were less than convincing in a 23-18 win over bottom side Albi.

The match between Biarritz and Racing Metro was postponed after a late pitch inspection, with the rain that has ravaged the Basque country over the past 24 hours proving too much for the Parc des Sports Aguilera pitch.


Castres 9-9 Clermont
Toulouse 41-3 Bourgoin
Montpellier 19-0 Montauban
Brive 19-14 Bayonne
Stade Français 23-18 Albi
Biarritz P-P Racing Métro
Perpignan 25-9 Toulon


1 Perpignan 40
2 Toulouse 36
3 Castres 36
4 Clermont 35
5 Stade Français 31
6 Toulon 30
7 Biarritz 28
8 Racing Metro 27
9 Montauban 25
10 Montpellier 25
11 Brive 24
12 Bourgoin 22
13 Bayonne 18
14 Albi 10


Castres Olympique 9-9 Clermont Auvergne

It was a bit of a non-event in the end, but then considering Castres especially had had stiff tests not five days ago, you'd have been mad to expect anything more. It was a case of 'get the job done'.

You'd have expected a polished Clermont side to be better at that than Castres, but this Tarnat team is made of sterner stuff this year than last, and twice equalised in the first half before holding the lead in the second.

Romain Teulet kicked Castres' points, all from the tee, while Seremaia Bai, with two penalties, and Anthony Floch with a drop goal scored for Clermont, to leave a scoreline that will have both teams satisfied.


Stade Toulousain 41-3 CS Bourgoin-Jallieu

A bit of a walk in the park for Toulouse this one against a Bourgoin side keen on getting in, getting out, and staying uninjured, such was the timidity of the defence at times

Two tries for Florian Fritz, one each for Cedric Heymans, Louis Picamoles and Albert Vernet Basualdo, complemented by five conversions and a brace of penalties from Jean-Baptiste Elissalde was the roll of honour for Toulouse, whose coach Guy Noves would have got exactly the response he wanted after last week's lame defeat to Racing-Metro.

Alberto di Bernado scored for Bourgoin with a penalty at 20-0 down in the second half. It didn't matter.


Montpellier HRC 19-0 Montauban

Montpellier are beginning to develop a tough edge. They've been notoriously harder to break down since they fell flat at home to Toulouse a couple of months ago, even winning away in England.

With a visiting Montauban team never a pushover, this was the kind of fixture the Heraults used to capitulate in far too often, but a clean sheet was highly impressive.

They were 13-0 ahead in almost as many minutes, with Francois Trinh-Duc scoring an early try and Federico Todeschini converting and adding two penalties.

The Argentinean added two more in a tame second half – Montpellier might like to reflect and consider they could have gone for the jugular.


CA Brive-Corrèze 19-14 Aviron Bayonnais

Bayonne simply did not turn up in the first half and paid the penalty, for when they got going in the second, they were superior most of the time.

Brive led 13-0 at the break, with Shaun Perry scoring the try and Fabrice Estebanez converting and adding two penalties.

Estebanez made it 16-0 early in the second half, but two minutes later Bayonne finally got on the scoresheet with a try from hooker David Roumieu, converted by Craig Gower.

Alexis Palisson landed another penalty for Brive, but the home side's limitations in attack were still evident and they could not force the advantage home.

Then replacement number eight Jean-Jospeh Marmoyet crashed over for Bayonne as well, with Gower converting again to make it 19-14, and alarm bells began to ring.

Both teams were their own worst enemies in the end though, with Brive never asserting themselves but Bayonne far too loose around the fringes and giving up a number of penalties as a result. Brive clung on, to leave Bayonne four points adrift in the drop zone, but neither teams deserves to be safe on this display.


Stade Français 23-18 SCA Albi

The bottom team always has one big display from time to time, and this was it for Albi. Courageous to the last and aided by some excellent kicking from scrum-half Kevin Boulogne and Romanian international Ilie Dumitras, the Albigeois were not far off the pace against a top-notch Parisian side.

Stade led 10-9 at the break, with Pascal Papé scoring the only try, converted by Falie Oelschig who also added a penalty, but two penalties by Boulogne and a monster from Dumitras all but cancelled that out.

Mark Gasnier's score moments after the break ought to have signalled the search for a bonus point for the Parisians, but instead the errors piled up and they nearly let Albi nick it.

Oelschig made it 20-9 with a penalty, but Albi pressure forced another kick for Boulogne and a drop goal for Dumitras to keep his side in touch.

Oelschig again took Stade more than seven ahead, but Boulogne made it 23-18 with five to go and won his side a bonus point, the least they deserved.


USA Perpignan 25-9 RC Toulon

A display of utter fire from the Catalan pack blew Toulon off the park in the first half, and then the Perpignan backs finished with a flourish in the second.

A penalty try was around the corner for about seven minutes before referee Pascal Gauzere finally caved in and awarded it on 23 minutes, and Farid Sid's close range try five minutes later might have opened the floodgates.

In the end though, it was only 15-6 at the break, with Sebastien Fauqué keeping Toulon in touch with a penalty and a drop goal.

Fauqué's third kick had Toulon within striking distance not long after the break but the Catalans dug in hard and proved immovable objects.

David Melé put the game out of reach of Toulon once and for all with a penalty on 72 minutes and then came a neat little coup de grâce four minutes from the end, when Maxime Mermoz, Sid and Olivier Olibeau combined to send Christophe Manas away for the bonus point try.