Stade Francais condemned Toulon to their third defeat of the season while Perpignan succumbed to La Rochelle, coincidentally by the same scoreline.
La Rochelle 37-10 Perpignan
Stade Francais 37-10 Toulon
La Rochelle 37-10 Perpignan
La Rochelle once again produced a sub-par display in the Top 14 but still managed to overcome Perpignan 37-10 at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre after a late surge.
They have struggled for fluency this season and, despite going 10-3 ahead at the interval through Vincent Rattez’s try and Ihaia West’s penalty, the hosts were poor for most of the encounter.
The away team initially benefited as Tom Ecochard equalised before the league leaders from the 2016/17 campaign eventually pulled away via Kini Murimurivalu, Geoffrey Doumayrou and Hikairo Forbes, who all touched down, while they were also awarded a penalty try.
It was a pretty dreadful game, between two teams who have yet to find their best form this season, and the first half was particularly mistake-ridden.
Despite the loss of head coach Patrice Collazo the hosts have continued with their off-loading game, but the accuracy was lacking. They did create the better opportunities and scored the opening points through West’s penalty, but their errors let Perpignan into the contest.
The Catalans were not averse to needlessly spilling the ball either but theirs were slightly fewer in number and Jonathan Bousquet managed to level matters from the tee.
That gave the visitors confidence and they kept the home side try-less until the 32nd minute when La Rochelle finally put together a cohesive attack. They opened the space on the outside and wing Rattez was on hand to cross the whitewash and help them into a 10-3 advantage at the break.
Perpignan had an effort from Wandile Mjekevu disallowed just shy of the interval but they were not to be deterred and duly started the second period on the front foot. Christian Lanta’s charges were eventually rewarded as the forwards went through the phases and Ecochard sniped his way over.
The scrum-half’s score only served to incense La Rochelle, though, and they immediately responded via Murimurivalu’s close-range try before West effectively secured the win with a conversion and three-pointer.
They then went in search of the bonus-point and it came through a penalty try and Forbes’ opportunistic effort.
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Rattez, Murimurivalu, Doumayrou, penalty try, Forbes
Cons: West 2
Pens: West 2
La Rochelle: 15 Arthur Retiere, 14 Eliott Roudil, 13 Jeremy Sinzelle, 12 Jules Favre, 11 Vincent Rattez, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Lopeti Timani, 6 Zeno Kieft, 5 Mathieu Tanguy, 4 Romain Sazy, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Dany Priso
Replacements: 16 Hikairo Forbes, 17 Leo Aouf, 18 Jone Qovu, 19 Remi Bourdeau, 20 Alexis Balès, 21 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 22 Kini Murimurivalu, 23 Arthur Joly
Perpignan: 15 Julien Farnoux, 14 Jonathan Bousquet, 13 Wandile Mjekevu, 12 Sione Piukala, 11 Eroni Sau, 10 Enzo Selponi, 9 Sadek Deghmache, 8 Mike Faleafa, 7 Alan Brazo, 6 Shahn Eru, 5 Berend Botha, 4 Masalosalo Tutaia, 3 Sylvain Charlet, 2 Seilala Lam, 1 Yassine Boutemane
Replacements: 16 Raphael Carbou, 17 Enzo Forletta, 18 Tristan Labouteley, 19 Johann van Heerden, 20 Tom Ecochard, 21 Paddy Jackson, 22 Mathieu Acebes, 23 Gert Muller
Referee: Pierre Brousset
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre, Laurent Breil
TMO: Denis Grenouillet
Stade Francais 37-10 Toulon
Stade Francais moved up to second position in the Top 14 after a superb victory over three-time European champions Toulon.
The Parisians began the game superbly and went 17-3 in front thanks to a Gael Fickou brace and the accurate kicking of Morne Steyn.
Anthony Belleau had briefly levelled matters but they were being outplayed until Josua Tuisova touched down to leave them seven points in arrears at the interval.
It did not alter the momentum, however, and after Steyn had added two further three-pointers, Laurent Panis and Hugh Pyle tries ended the game as a contest.
Stade have opened the season excellently and showed why with a superb first quarter performance that saw them cross the whitewash twice. Steyn and Belleau had traded penalties before the hosts’ midfield partnership began to dominate. They were proving to be destructive and those two combined for the first as Jonathan Danty off-loaded for Fickou to go over.
The France international has enjoyed his start to life in the capital and the outside centre was soon scoring once again as he scythed his way between two front-rowers to sprint 50 metres and touch down.
To the visitors’ credit, they battled back and responded just shy of the interval when Malakai Fekitoa brilliantly pulled the ball back for Tuisova to dot down.
However, Stade maintained control of proceedings in the second period and successive Styen three-pointers moved them 23-10 clear.
Toulon were more competitive than in the early stages but they were making too many errors and the Parisians pounced as Panis and Pyle went over from close range to complete the win.
Tries: Fickou 2, Panis, Pyle
Cons: Steyn 3, Plisson
Pens: Steyn 3
Yellow Card: Macalou
Yellow Card: Savea
Stade: 15 Kylan Hamdaoui, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Julien Arias, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Sekou Macalou, 6 Tala Gray, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Laurent Panis, 1 Heinke van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Laurent Sempere, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Hugh Pyle, 19 Ryan Chapuis, 20 Clement Daguin, 21 Jules Plisson, 22 Julien Delbouis, 23 Paul Alo-Emile
Toulon: 15 Jonah Placid, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Anthony Belleau, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Louis Carbonel, 9 Eric Escande, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Stéphane Onambele, 6 Jaques Potgieter, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Marcel Van der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Sebastien Taofifenua
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Swan Rebbadj, 19 Jean Monribot, 20 JP Pietersen, 21 Daniel Ikpefan, 22 Anthony Meric, 23 Emerick Setiano
Referee: Mathieu Raynal
Assistant referees: Vincent Blasco-Baque, Bruno Gabaldon
TMO: Patrick Dellac