Planet Rugby

Top 14 big guns fire

28th January 2010 21:00

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Jeoffrey Michel perpignan bourgoin

Jeoffrey Michel: Two tries

The big buns fired in the Top 14 on Thursday as Toulouse and Perpignan romped to bonus-point wins.

Bayonne kept their hopes of survival alive with victory in the Basque derby.

Toulouse ran four tries past Albi, condemning their hosts to certain relegation.

Perpignan put six tries past Bourgoin as they took revenge for their away loss in September and threw all their weight behind their only remaining objective: defending the Top 14 crown.

Bayonne's win and Bourgoin's loss means the race to avoid relegation is back on while Biarritz's hopes of making the play-offs are looking rather slim.

Results:

Albi 6 - 24 Toulouse
Perpignan49 - 20
Bayonne 15-0 Biarritz

Wednesday, January 27

Racing Metro 33-24 Clermont
Toulon 31-19 Montpellier
Brive 19-14 Montauban
Castres 32-14 Stade Français

Standings:

1 Castres 60
2 Clermont 56
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3 Toulouse 55
4 Perpignan 55
5 Racing Métro 52
6 Toulon 51
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7 Brive 46
8 Stade Français 45
9 Biarritz 42
10 Montpellier 37
11 Montauban 33
12 Bourgoin 31
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13 Bayonne 29
14 Albi 20

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SCA Albi 6 - 24 Stade Toulousain

Mission accomplished for Toulouse, whose pack showed all it's power in horrendous conditions to secure three tries and the accompanying bonus point.

In driving rain and on a mud-soaked pitch, Byron Kelleher's physical game was more valuable than the Toulouse back-line's pace.

Yet Yannick's Jauzion's class shines in all conditions and he was at the origin of Patricio Albacete's opening try on the half-hour mark.

Toulouse then concentrated on controlling the match as the heavies kept rumbling until lock Yohan Maestri crashed over in the 54th minute.

With the bonus point in reach, the visitors cut loose as Cédric Heymans was allowed to stretch his legs, turning on the gas and touching down thanks to a kick-pass from Florian Fitz after an hour.

Back rowers Shaun Sowerby and Louise Picamoles combined to hand a fourth try to Maxime Médard.

With a two-week holiday next up for those not summoned to the national team (more than usual in the Toulouse ranks since both Heymans and Médard have been dropped) les Toulousains will make the short journey feeling very satisfied.

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USA Perpignan 49 - 20 CS Bourgoin-Jallieu

Who needs the Heineken Cup? Anyone who doubted Perpignan's ability to bounce back from their European disappointment was given a lesson in Catalan resilience on Friday as USAP tore Bourgoin apart in ruthless fashion.

Before the local crowd could finish the first full rendition of the Perpignan anthem, David Marty had struck. Perpignan would score five more tries, including a double for full-back Geoffrey Michel and one each for Henri Tuilagi, Christophe Manas and Gilhem Guirado .

Bourgoin had no answer to the Perpignan attack, whether up front or out wide. Kevin Senio snuck a try in the first half and wing Jean Francois Coux brought some sort of respectibilty to the score in the dying moments.

Make no mistake. Perpignan have all the arms necessary to defend their title and five points puts them right back in the hunt for automatic semi-final qualification.

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Aviron Bayonnais 15-0 Biarritz Olympique

Bayonne took the first step towards climbing out of the relegation quagmire with victory over their rivals from across the river.

The hosts crossed the whitewash just before the half-hour mark when Manny Edmonds found a hole in the BO defence before offloading to Jean-Baptist Peyras to put Bayonne 8-0 ahead.

The team in sky blue had kept Biarritz pinned in their own half and were dominating the set pieces and rucks and deserved their half-time lead.

With the hour mark approaching Edmonds scored a second try thanks to a break from scrum-half Cedric Gracia and massive pressure from his forwards in the follow up.

It was all Biarritz in the last 20 minutes, but consistent with their erratic form this season, they were unable to keep their composure long enough to make the break through.

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