Top 14 wrap: Montpellier take the lead

26th Sep 2010, 08:57

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Try! Sylvain Mirande opened the scoring for Montpellier

Try! Sylvain Mirande opened the scoring for Montpellier

For the first time in their history, Montpellier have taken the French championship lead thanks to a 26-6 victory over La Rochelle.

For the first time in their history, Montpellier took the French championship lead on Saturday thanks to a 26-6 win over La Rochelle.

Racing-Métro used a strong wind to their advantage on Saturday as they battled to a 17-12 win over Biarritz.

Two tries from Maxime Mermoz and a late penalty from Jerome Porical handed Perpignan a nail-biting one-point win over Bayonne.

Toulouse needed a late penalty from David Skrela to scrape to a 16-all draw on the road in Brive.

Champions Clermont secured four much-needed points at home to Castres while Stade Français scrummed their way past Agen to win with relative ease.

Bourgoin 3-26 Toulon
Clermont 24-6 Castres
Agen 12-27 Stade Français
Brive 16-16 Toulouse
Racing-Métro 17-12 Biarritz
Bayonne 25-26 Perpignan
Montpellier 26-6 La Rochelle

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ASM Clermont Auvergne 24-6 Castres Olympique
Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin, Clermont Ferrand

In heavy rain, the champions of France got the job done but failed to secure a bonus point. Les Jaunards outscored their derby rivals two tries to none as they patiently profited from Castres' mistakes.

Clermont led 17-3 at half time thanks to a strong tail wind, an early drop by Anthony Floch and try from wing Julien Malzieu.

Castres weren't getting any love from the referee and despite making a number of handling errors, Clermont were controlling matters.

The champions moved further ahead on the hour mark when Morgan Parra created a try for Alexandre Lapandry and Brock James added a conversion to his three penalties.

A penalty in each half for Romain Teulet was all Castres could muster.
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SU Agen 12-27 Stade Français Paris
Stade Armandie, Agen

Stade Français get a win on the road thanks to a strong second half and a dominant scrum, climbing up to the top half of the standing in the process.

The Parisians led 14-12 at the break thanks to a penalty from Argentine centre Martin Rodriguez on the stroke of half-time.

Stade Français had taken an early lead after wing Quentin Valancon crossed but Tongan number eight Ueleni Fono kept Agen in touch with try on 20 minutes.

Agen took the lead in the 39th min when wing Brice Dulin scored a 50m try, only for Rodriguez to add to Lionel Beauxis' earlier penalty to edge Stade back in front.

The visitors opened up a health gap when wing Julien Arias broke clear before off-loading to James Haskell, who cruised over untouched.

Rodriguez added a couple of three-pointers to give Michael Cheika's men four valuable points on the road.

Agen sink further into relegation trouble.
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CA Brive Corrèze 16-16 Stade Toulousain
Stade Amédée Domenech, Brive

David Skrela was the hero for Toulouse as he kicked two penalties in the final ten minutes to snatch a draw for the visitors.

Brive will harbour a some regrets after fighting back to take what looked like a winning lead in a ding-dong battle.

It was all-square at 10-all when the teams swapped sides. Toulouse got off to a flyer when Fijian wing Vilimoni Delasau scored after just two minutes. Nicolas Bézy's conversion and a penalty three minutes later had the visitors up team ahead after five minutes.

But Brive grappled their way back into contention when lock Arnaud Mela crashed over just before the half-hour mark. Mathieu Belie added the extras and a penalty to level the scores before Fabrice Estebanez slotted a super drop soon after the restart to put the hosts in front.

Castres went a man down when Georgian prop Davit Khinchagishvili was sent to the bin from playing the ball on the ground, but Toulouse couldn't capitalise.

Belie and David Skrela exchanged penalties to leave the team separated by just three points going into the final ten minutes. It was all Toulouse in the closing stages, forcing the hosts into an error 5 minutes from time. Skrela sent his kick straight down the middle to save two points for les Toulousains
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Racing-Métro 17-12 Biarritz Olympique
Stade Yves Du Manoir - Colombes (Paris)

Racing score their third consecutive home win to retain command of the top of the standings. Racing used the very strong win to take a 14-3 lead at half-time before taking a cautious approach in the second period, allowing Biarritz to save a losing bonus point.

Home wing Benjamin Fall was the only try scorer, touching down after ten minutes. Racing snubbed a penalty opportunity to go for touch, rumbled to the line, and saw the ball spun wide by centre Henry Chavancy to Fall, who crossed in the corner.

The Parisian club's Italian centre Mirco Bergamasco then saved a try, just tipping away an Adrien Ayestaran grubber from Takudzwa Ngwenya's fingers.

Fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski kicked the rest of Racing's points.

After keeping ball in hand in the first half, Biarritz profited from the wind at their backs in the second period, fighting their way back into contention as Julien Peyrelongue added a drop to his first-half penalty. Dimitri Yachvili made his usual impact off the bench, kicking two long range penalties to bring BO back within striking distance.

But faced with a well-organised Racing defence playing to secure the points, BO were unable to find the gap that would give them victory.
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Aviron Bayonnais 25-26 USA Perpignan
Stade Jean Dauger, Bayonne

Perpignan held on to win by inches...literally as Benjamin Boyet's last-minute penalty from 50m out dropped just below the cross bar.

The Basque hosts paid for their slow start as they allowed Maxime Mermoz to score twice inside the first twenty minutes, handing Perpignan a 17-3 lead.

Boyet continued his perfect record at Stade Jean Dauger this season to slot five penalties to leave the score at 15-17 at the break.

Jerome Porcial added a penalty after the restart but Bayonne drew level when skipper Remy Martin crashed over. The crowd went wild when South African full-back Joe Pietersen finished in the corner to put L'Aviron 25-20 up.

Boyet missed both conversions before having to watch Porical nail a penalty from the half way line to reduce the gap and then another in the 72nd minute to give the Catalans a one-point lead which proved to be enough for victory.
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Montpellier HR 26-6 Stade Rochelais Atlantique
Stade Yves Du Manoir, Montpellier

François Trinh-Duc had a