Planet Rugby

Top 14 wrap: Toulouse on fire

23rd October 2010 15:38

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Vincent Clerc Try Toulouse black strip 2010

Try time: Vincent Clerc touches down for Toulouse

Toulouse and Montpellier moved to the summit of the Top 14 standings on Saturday with a bonus-point wins over Perpignan and Bourgoin respectively.

Racing Métro, Montpellier and Toulouse now share the lead, level on 32 points.

In arguably the best game of the French domestic season so far, Toulouse put on a classic display to run five tries past Perpignan, including one for Byron Kelleher who was in sublime form.

At the Stade de France, a late try from English wing Ollie Phillips helped Stade Français to a narrow win over Toulon.

The shock of the day came in La Rochelle, where the hosts upset Brive while Biarritz had to come from behind at half time to sneak past Clermont.

As expected, Castres romped home to a bonus-point win over Agen.

On Friday, Racing maintained their unbeaten home record against Bayonne, who were good value for their losing bonus point.

Results

Racing Métro 15-9 Bayonne
Toulouse 38-29 Perpignan
Montpellier 28-3 Bourgoin
Castres 38-11 Agen
La Rochelle 26-21 Brive
Biarritz 16-13 Clermont
Stade Français 22-15 Toulon

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Stade Toulousain 38-29 USA Perpignan
Stadium de Toulouse

What a game! Two sides ready to play open rugby and with the skill to do so put on a superb show which saw seven tries being scored.

Perpignan got off to a excellent start but the Toulouse response will have the rest of the championship shaking in their boots.

Perpignan led 16-15 at the break despite being outscored two tries to one in the first 40. David Mélé's try gave the visitors an early lead which they extended to 13 points thanks to Jerome Porical's boot.

The second quarter belonged to Toulouse however as wings Vilimoni Delasau and Vicent Clerc both touched down. Only a drop goal from Perpignan centre Gavin Hume kept the Catalans ahead.

Toulouse were simply on fire in the second period, playing the attacking rugby that has made the club famous. Off a platform created by a massive effort from the home pack, scrum-half Byron Kelleher, hooker William Servat and centre Clément Poitrenaud scored tries to give les Toulousains a 36-22 lead.

With Toulouse down to fourteen men after Medard was sent to the bin for an intentional knock down, lock Guillaume Vilaceca muscled his way over the line after the full-time whistle to save some honour for USAP.

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Biarritz Olympique 16-13 ASM Clermont Auvergne
Parc des Sports d'Aguilera, Biarritz

Defending champions Clermont suffered their fifth defeat of the season in a tightly contested match where two first-half drop goals from Damien Traille and two yellow cards for Clermont in the second half proved decisive.

Clermont - who at least took a defensive bonus point - had the upper hand initially taking a 10-6 lead at the break thanks to Sione Lauaki's try and five points from the boot of Brock James.

However, the game turned in 10 minutes of the second-half as first Clermont's Davit Zirakashvili was sin-binned in the 51st minute and scrum-half Morgan Parra was sent to join him eight minutes later for his deliberate knock-on as he returned to the pitch after treatment.

A minute later Biarritz took the lead for the first time as Ilikena Bolakoro went over and Dimitri Yachvili converted. Clermont's sole reply came from a penalty by Anthony Floch.

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Montpellier HR 28-3 CS Bourgoin-Jallieu
Stade Yves Du Manoir, Montpellier

Montpellier secured the bonus point that sent them back to the top of the standings with just four minutes left on the clock. The hosts won't be overly happy with their performance and can count themselves lucky that Bourgoin were missing a number a first-choice players.

The visitors put up a good fight, but were forced to play catch up from the third minute when Montpol wing Dimitri Pelo touched down in the corner.

Bourgoin missed four shots at goal in the game that was marred by a mass-punched up in a three-minute spell in the second half that produced three yellow cards - two for Bourgoin.

Fijian wing Timoci Nagusa extended the Montpellier 14-3 half-time lead with a try on the hour mark before hooker Fabien Rofes touched down at the bottom of a pile of bodies in the dying minutes to give les Heraultais the bonus point.

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Castres Olympique 38-11 SU Agen
Stade Pierre Antoine, Castres

No surprises here as Castres coasted to a bonus-point win, outscoring their visitors by four tries to one as they continued the good form displayed in European competition.

The Tarnais led 19-6 at half time thanks to a try from prop Luc Ducalcon and a few penalties from Romain 'Robocap' Teulet.

Lock Joe Tekori, centre Yoan Audrin and his replacement Pierre Garcia all got on the scoreboard in the second half before Agen snuck a late consolation try.

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Stade Rochelais Atlantique 26-21 CA Brive Corrèze
Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle

This is a massive result for La Rochelle who move five points clear of the relegation zone with their third home win of the season.

Brive will have to settle for a losing bonus point after failing to capitalise on the strong start

La Rochelle led 20-13 at half time after scoring three tries, including an intercept try from Fijian speedster Norman Ligairi.

Brive's South African lock Retied Uys scored the only try of the second half but the visitors were not able to crack the home defence in the last quarter.

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Stade Français Paris 22-15 RC Toulon
Stade de France, Paris

In soaking wet conditions, it looked set to be another Jonny Wilkinson show as the English fly-half put Toulon 15-12 ahead going into the final fifteen minutes with a trademark drop goal .

But it was another English who provided the killer blow for the Parisians as Ollie Phillips took a long pass from Lionel Beauxis to score the only try of the game in 72nd minute.

Stade led 12-6 after 40 minutes of trench warfare as Julien Dupuy and Wilkinson exchanged penalties and Mathieu Bastareaud wreaked havoc in midfield.

The game seemed to swing in the visitors favour however when Bastareaud was sent to the sin bin on the hour mark for tackling nailed Gabiriele Lovobalavu without the ball, allowing Wilko, who scored all of his sides points, to level the scores.

Stade dug deep however as their pack plied the pressure in the closing minutes, setting up Phillips for his try and a late drop from Beauxis to seal the win.

The result sees the team from the capital climb to sixth in the standings, one point behind Toulon, who are fourth.

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Racing-Métro 15-9 Aviron Bayonnais
Stade Yves Du Manoir - Colombes (Paris)

Read the match report here

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