Planet Rugby

Top 14 wrap: Big guns fire

19th February 2011 15:32

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Clermont s James Brock v Bayonne 2011

Precious boot: James Brock kicked Clermont out of trouble

Toulouse snatched victory in the dying minutes of a gruelling Top 14 battle in the rain against Biarritz on Saturday.

Clermont maintained their unbeaten home record but were forced to come from behind to scrape a narrow win against Bayonne.

Castres are still firmly in the race for a play-off berth after coming out on top at the end of a nine-try thriller at home to Montpellier.

Racing Metro held onto second place in the standings thanks to victory in La Rochelle while Perpignan were able to get the desired result on the road to Bourgoin, but failed to pick up the bonus point they so desperately needed.

And to end off the weekend's proceedings, Agen upset the applecart after getting the better of Toulon 23-13.

Results:

Brive 26-10 Stade Français
Clermont 24-19 Bayonne
La Rochelle 24-32 Racing Métro
Castres 43-29 Montpellier
Bourgoin 15-32 Perpignan
Toulouse 23-19 Biarritz
Agen 23-13 Toulon

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ASM Clermont Auvergne 24-19 Aviron Bayonnais
Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand

Job done for Clermont but they were pushed all the way by their Basque visitors in a ferocious encounter.

Two yellow cards dished out to Bayonne - one in each half - helped the champions overturn a one-point half-time deficit as Brock James slotted three late penalties to secure victory.

Bayonne took an early lead when Zimbabwean-born wing Garth Ziegler finished off a 60m move started by centre Thibault Lacroix.

Clermont were able to draw level thanks to a try created by Benoit Baby and scored by Gonzalo Canale.

A couple of Benjamin Boyet penalties put Bayonne back in front but Clermont struck back when Canale struck just before half-time while Bayonne lock Dwyane Haare was in the sin bin.

Lacroix also saw yellow in the second period as James put les Jaunards ahead from the kicking tee in tightly-contested but try-less second half

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Castres Olympique 43-29 Montpellier HR
Stade Pierre Antoine, Castres

What a game! Castres and Montpellier entertained the crowd at Stade Pierre Antoine with a nine-try spectacle that was only decided in the final quarter.

The result sees Castres bounce right back into contention for the play-offs while Montpellier head home empty handed, meaning they are overtaken by Clermont in the standings.

Castres held a 23-19 lead at half time thanks to tries from prop Yannick Forrestier and two from France wing Marc Andreu.

There was nothing to pick between the sides as Montpol replied through tries from skipper Fulgence Ouedraogo, wing Martin Moyano and hooker Mickeal Ladhuie, who crashed over just before the break.

Castres moved clear soon after the restart when centre Yoan Audrin touched down but the visitors struck back through a Pierre Bernand try.

Castres full-back Romain Teulet was in great form from the kicking tee and ensured the hosts had a comfy advantage as he converted a penalty try in the dying minutes when Montpellier consistently killed the ball in defence.

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Stade Rochelais Atlantique 24-32 Racing-Métro 92
Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle

Mission accomplished for Racing Metro, who just had too much firepower for their hosts.

La Rochelle full-back Benjamin Dambielle missed a last-minute conversion that would have handed them a vital bonus point - meaning they drop back into the relegation zone.

Racing led 16-12 at half-time thanks to a try from South African loose forward Jacques Cronje and the boot of Jonathan Wisniewski, who went on to kick a total of six penalties.

Juan Martin Hernandez was at the origin of a try from centre Henry Chavancy, which essentially sealed the game for Racing.

Tries from Dambielle and Norman Ligiari proved to be too little too late for les Maritimes

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CS Bourgoin-Jallieu 15-32 USA Perpignan
Stade Pierre Rajon, Bourgoin

Julien Candelon scored after just five minutes for USAP, who dominated their motivated but error-prone hosts.

Jerome Porical kept the scoreboard ticking from the kicking tee until the Catalan scrum earned a penalty try with a minute left on the clock.

No bonus point for Perpignan then, but they do climb above Stade Français in the standings.

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Stade Toulousain 23 Biarritz Olympique
Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse

It wasn't one for the fainthearted as two heavyweights of French rugby duked it out in soaking wet conditions.

Toulouse scored a major psychological blow ahead of their upcoming Heineken Cup quarter-final with Biarritz but needed to dig very, very deep to maintain their unbeaten home record.

Trailing 19-13 with ten minutes left on the clock, Toulouse's youngsters pulled the game from the fire as Jean-Marc Doussain scored the vital try while Nicolas Bezy provided the winning conversion and a late penalty.

Toulouse had the better of the first half but the teams were locked at 13-all after Iain Balshaw scored the opening try before Louise Picamoles linked up with Cédric Heymans for a scintillating equaliser.

The second half was a real arm wrestle as Julien Peyrelongue put BO in front from the kicking tee, only to see the hosts fight back at the death.

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SU Agen 23-13 RC Toulon
Stade Armandie, Agen

Toulon were shocked by struggling Agen as the Heinken Cup quarter-finalists fell to a surprise 23-13 defeat.

Not even Jonny Wilkinson's return to Top 14 action could help the visitors, and could only manage two penalties and a conversion.

The hosts took a 20-6 lead at the break thanks to tries to loose forwards Adri Badenhorst and Jean Monribot - both of which were converted by Conrad Barnard, who also slotted over an earlier penalty.

Toulon could not take advantage of the sin-binning of Saimoni Vaka before half-time, but did hit back through a Matt Henjak touchdown in the 65th minute. Wilkinson's conversion took the visitors to within seven but a further penalty from Barnard ended their hopes of a comeback.

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CA Brive Corrèze 26-10 Stade Français Paris
Stade Amédée Domenech, Brive

Brive did their chances of avoiding relegation the world of good on Friday with a convincing 26-10 victory over Stade Français. Read the match report here

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