Planet Rugby

Top 14 wrap: Perpignan beaten again

05th November 2011 18:36

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Luke McAlister toulouse

Luke McAlister: Six penalties for Toulouse

Toulouse inflicted a fifth successive defeat on Perpignan on Saturday thanks to a 21-17 victory in their Top 14 clash.

Results:
Toulouse 21-17 Perpignan
Bordeaux-Begles 24-9 Castres
Stade Francais 37-16 Clermont

Postponed:
Toulon v Agen (weather)
Lyon v Montpellier (illness)
Biarritz v Bayonne (illness)

Standings:
1. Toulouse 36
2.Clermont 35
3. Castres 31
4. Toulon 28
5. Racing-Metro 25
6. Agen 24
7.Stade Francais 21
8. Brive 19
9. Perpignan 19
10. Bordeaux-Begles 17
11. Bayonne 15
12. Montpellier 14
13. Lyon 12
14. Biarritz 10

Toulouse 21-17 Perpignan

Six Luke McAlister's penalties and one from Lionel Beauxis was enough to see Toulouse go top of the Top 14 table.

While Perpignan were unable to stop their losing run there was much for them to take heart from, in particular an impressive debut by Welsh star James Hook, against a Toulouse side that welcomed back several of their World Cup stars.

Hook was in sparkling form in comparison to his rather subdued performances at the World Cup where he was superseded by Rhys Priestland at fly-half and Leigh Halfpenny at fullback.

The Welsh star first produced a sublime kick into the far corner where Farid Sid was on hand to catch it and touch down for a try -- which Hook converted -- to give the visitors a 7-0 lead early on.

However, three penalties from former All Black Luke McAlister gave Toulouse the advantage at 9-7 before Hook landed a drop goal from all of 45 metres to restore their lead.

But McAlister, who was not selected for the World Cup despite boasting 30 caps for the All Blacks and playing a pivotal role at the 2007 World Cup, sent the hosts in ahead at the break as he successfully converted a penalty in the dying seconds of the half.

Both Hook and McAlister missed penalties early in the second-half with the hosts beginning to dominate the match.

However, it was the visitors who scored against the run of play as the lively Sid made a great solo break before being stopped just short of the tryline.

From the ensuing maul, Damien Chouly touched down for his first try of the season.

Hook made no mistake with the conversion to make it 17-12 to Perpignan but McAlister reduced the deficit to two points in the 57th minute with another penalty.

The Kiwi added another with just over 10 minutes remaining to give Toulouse the lead by a point and then his replacement Lionel Beauxis gave them the breathing space they needed with another three-pointer.

Stade Francais 37-16 Clermont

Clermont were unable to return to the Top 14 summit after being humbled 37-17 by Stade Francais at the Stade de France.

Clermont had made light of missing several of their star players during the World Cup losing just one of their nine matches - but Stade stunned them with three first-half tries to give them no way back.

Those tries - including one from veteran Argentinian Felipe Contepomi -and two in the second-half, one for France World Cup lock Pascal Pape sealed an eyecatching win.

Bordeaux-Begles 24-9 Castres

Bordeaux opened up a gap on bottom two Lyon and Biarritz - who were both idle because of the contagious ear infection that has swept through some teams - with an impressive 24-9 home win over high-flying Castres.

They took an 11-3 lead into the break with all their points coming from Kiwi stars Gerard Fraser and former All Black Bruce Reihana.

All of Castres' only points of the half came off the boot of their prolific kicker Romain Teulet.

Bordeaux extended their lead with a second try shortly after the restart as Kiwi replacement prop Hikairo Forbes ploughed over the line from five metres out, and Fraser converted for 18-3.

Castres hit back with a penalty by Teulet and a drop goal by Pierre Bernard to trail 18-9 with 20 minutes remaining.

However, a drop goal from Fraser and another penalty from Reihana put the hosts out of sight and handed Castres their second successive defeat after a run of seven straight wins.

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