Top 14 Wrap: La Rochelle win again

Date published: February 18 2017

La Rochelle moved provisionally five points clear at the Top 14 summit after they defeated Stade Français.



La Rochelle 37-18 Stade Français
Clermont Auvergne v Bayonne
Pau v Grenoble
Racing 92 v Brive
Toulon v Lyon


Bordeaux-Bègles v Castres
Montpellier v Toulouse

La Rochelle 37-18 Stade Français
Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle

La Rochelle moved provisionally five points clear at the Top 14 summit after they eased past Stade Français at Stade Marcel Deflandre.

It was their eleventh victory of the campaign while it was a tenth loss for the Paris side, who could be twelfth at the end of the weekend.

Stade Français began well and got on the board when Morné Steyn landed a penalty after La Rochelle's Mohamed Boughanmi was pinged.

But it didn't take long for the hosts to find their rhythm as power runners created space on the fringes of the ruck for scrum-half Alexis Bales to exploit and he found number eight Victor Vito in support, who raced over from 20 metres to make it 7-3 with the simple conversion.

Brock James then added to that kick with three penalties as the game reached 30 minutes, and at 16-3 the league leaders were cruising.

Crucially for Stade Français they responded with a try from number eight Jono Ross to make it 16-10, but with James landing his fourth penalty on the stroke of half-time it was a nine-point lead at the break. It was a deserved buffer for La Rochelle as they were on top.

Stade Français looked to change that upon the restart and did so when wing Waisea Nayacalevu finished well on the right wing, which made it 19-15, before Steyn missed the touchline extras. The crossing though was a reminder to La Rochelle that Stade were here to play.

James did manage to put his side 22-15 clear with a penalty on 49 minutes though after Ross had brought down a La Rochelle driving maul.

Territory was going to be vital going into the last quarter and they enjoyed the majority before an outstanding scrum won them another three points via James. Replacement Jules Plisson wiped that off soon after, but when Jules Le Bail crossed after 66 minutes, it became 30-18.

La Rochelle sensed Stade Français' heads had dropped and a try from replacement Levani Botia meant they needed two more for the bonus.

They thought they had one of those when wing Vincent Rattez dived over but referee Mathieu Raynal pulled them back for an offside, meaning La Rochelle had to settle for the four points as their impressive season continues. 

The scorers:

For La Rochelle:
Tries: Vito, Le Bail, Botia
Cons: James 2
Pens: James 6

For Stade Français:
Tries: Ross, Nayacalevu
Con: Steyn
Pens: Steyn, Plisson
Yellow Card: De Malmanche

La Rochelle: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Steeve Barry, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Vincent Rattez, 10 Brock James, 9 Alexis Bales, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jason Eaton, 6 Romain Sazy, 5 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 4 Mathieu Tanguy, 3 Mohamed Boughanmi, 2 Hikairo Forbes, 1 Mike Corbel
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Jordan Seneca, 18 Leandro Cedaro, 19 Afaesetiti Amosa, 20 Jules Lebail, 21 Levani Botia, 22 Elliot Roudil, 23 Lekso Kaulashvili

Stade Français: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Jeremy Sinzelle, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Sekou Macalou, 6 Sylvain Nicolas, 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Laurent Sempere, 1 Heinke Van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Laurent Panis, 17 Aled De Malmanche, 18 Abdellatif Boutaty, 19 Raphael Lakafia, 20 Clement Daguin, 21 Jules Plisson, 22 Julien Arias, 23 Giorgi Melikidze

Referee: Mathieu Raynal

Clermont Auvergne v Bayonne
Stade Marcel-Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand

Clermont scored six tries past Bayonne in a thrilling affair in Stade Marcel-Michelin ending 46-27 on Saturday.

Clermont drew first blood when they scored an early try through Aurelien Rougerie in the second minute that was converted by Stephen Brett. Brett then added a penalty giving his side an early lead in the sixth minute.

The home side then added to their lead, which was starting to look quite imposing early on, when scrum-half Charlie Cassang crossed over to give his side another seven points making his side's tally 17-0 15 minutes in after the conversion.

The nuggety scrum-half then nabbed himself a brace as he scored another try in the 27th minute which Brett keenly knocked over.

Just before the end of the first half Clermont inside centre Damian Penaud added to his side's lead after scoring a try of his own in the 37th minute.

The first off ended 29-0 to the hosts in a clear display of domination, without Bayonne scoring a single point.

Bayonne finally got onto the score board just after the first half when they were awarded a penalty try after Clermont wing Adrien Plante was yellow carded. They used their momentum well as second-rower Pablo Huete went over minutes later closing the gap to 29-14.

The last ten minutes of the game came alive when three tries were scored within minutes of each other. Clermont flanker Judicael Cancoriet dotted down in the 73rd minute then moments later Bayonne hit back with a try from Simon Labouyrie.

The home side had the last laugh when flanker Alexandre Lapandry crossed the whitewash in over time.

The scorers:

For Clermont:
Rougerie, Cassang 2, Penaud, Cancoriet, Lapandry
Cons: Brett 5
Pens: Brett 2

For Bayonne:
Huete, Labouyrie, Penalty Try
Cons: Moyano 3
Pens: Moyano 2

Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 David Strettle, 13 Aurelien Rougerie, 12 Damian Penaud, 11 Adrien Plante, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Charlie Cassang, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Judicael Cancoriet, 5 Arthur Iturria, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Etienne Falgoux
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Raphael Chaume, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Camille Gerondeau, 20 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 21 Setariki Tuicuvu, 22 Remy Grosso, 23 Michael Simutoga

Bayonne: 15 Martin Bustos Moyano, 14 Julien Tisseron, 13 Felix Le Bourhis, 12 Julien Jane, 11 Bastien Fuster, 10 Raphael Lagarde, 9 Manu Saubusse, 8 PJ Van Lill, 7 Jean Jo Marmouyet, 6 John Beattie, 5 Pablo Huete, 4 Adam Jaulhac, 3 Toma Taufa, 2 Manu Leiataua, 1 Jerome Schuster
Replacements: 16 Simon Labouyrie, 17 Aretz Iguiniz, 18 Guillaume Ducat, 19 Dion Evrard Oulai, 20 Bastien Duhalde, 21 Benjamin Thiery, 22 Thibault Lacroix, 23 Jose Ramon Ayarza

Referee: Cédric Marchat

Pau v Grenoble
Stade du Hameau, Pau

Pau overcame a spirited Grenoble side 39-22 in a game marred by a slew of yellow cards at Stade du Hameau on Saturday.

It got off to a riveting start when Pau fly-half Colin Slade scored a penalty and kicked over a drop goal in the opening five minutes. Grenoble hit back quickly though when winger Armand Batlle scored a try just after.

Slade then kicked over another penalty moments later. Grenoble then nudged the gap a little closer as fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski slotted a penalty in the 27th minute making the score 12-8.

Peter Kimlin of Grenoble didn't help his side's prospects when the flanker was given a yellow card in the 35th minute.

Pau extended their lead again after former Toulon star-flanker Steffon Armitage scored a five pointer for his side in the 36th minute, accompanied by two more penalties from Slade. Grenoble kept themselves in the game though as Wisniewski kept the score board ticking.

Soon after the try Grenoble were down to 13 men after Sona Taumalolo was also sent off for a ten minute break.

The half ended 19-14 to Pau with a mere five points between the two sides.

Pau received a yellow card just after the break when Paddy Butler was carded, Wisniewski used the opportunity well and kicked over a penalty for his side.

Despite being a man down Pau did well with the possession and scrum-half Thibault Daubagna scored for his side, compounding their lead to 26-17 after the conversion. Grenoble then replied soon after when Batlle scored his second try of the match.

The referee wasn't shy to brandish the yellow card on the day as Grenoble hooker Arnaud Heguy was then sent off for the rest of the match. Pau used the extra gap in the opposition defence well as replacement Sylvain Charlet then scored the final try of the game.

The scorers:

For Pau:
Armitage, Daubagna, Charlet
Cons: Slade 3
Pens: Slade 5
Drops: Slade

For Grenoble:
Pens: Wisniewski 4

Pau: 15 Charly Malie, 14 Louis Dupichot, 13 Julien Fumat, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Thibault Daubagna, 8 Steffon Armitage, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Paddy Butler, 5 Masalosalo Tutaia, 4 Fabrice Metz, 3 Malik Hamadache, 2 Quentin Lespiaucq, 1 Jamie Mackintosh
Replacements: 16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Jeremy Hurou, 18 Daniel Ramsay, 19 Pierrick Gunther, 20 Julien Tomas, 21 Brandon Fajardo, 22 Mosese Ratuvou, 23 Sylvain Charlet

Grenoble: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Lucas Dupont, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Nigel Hunt, 11 Armand Batlle, 10 Jonathan Wisniewski, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Fabien Alexandre, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Mathias Marie, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Dayna Edwards, 2 Arnaud Heguy, 1 Sona Taumalolo
Replacements: 16 Loick Jammes, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Mickael Capelli, 19 Mahamadou Diaby, 20 Lilian Saseras, 21 Gilles Bosch, 22 Clement Gelin, 23 Jarrod Firth

Referee: Tual Trainini

Racing 92 v Brive
Stade Yves Du Manoir, Colombes

Racing were able to squeeze past a revenant Brive side 33-25 at Stade Yves Du Manoir on Saturday.

Racing scored the first points of the game when scrum-half James Hart kicked over a penalty in the eighth minute.

The home side then consolidated their lead when second-rower Gerbrandt Grobler barged over the line. After Hart's conversion Racing led 10-0, 15 minutes into the game.

Hart later scored another penalty putting his side further in the lead, but that only seemed to wake the sleeping Brive as just after inside centre Sevenaia Galala crossed over to score and scrum-half Teddy Iribaren converted it.

The first half ended 13-8 to the hosts as they tenuously held onto the lead as Brive started to look a little more threatening.

Brive started the second half in an ideal fashion when replacement Karlen Asieshvili dotted down for his side in the 42nd minute with Nicolas Bezy converting it and taking the lead in the process.

Racing didn't enjoy being behind and responded minutes later with a try from Fiji international Leone Nakarawa which Hart converted astutely. Brive then closed the gap once again when Bezy put another kick through the sticks. The Fijian the scored his second try of the match 15 minutes later.

Brive then went down to 14 men when hooker Francois Da Ros was yellow carded.

The visitors would have the last say in the game when replacement hooker Guillaume Ribes scored in the 81st minute, but it was not enough to secure the win.

The scorers:

For Racing:
Grobler, Nakarawa 2
Cons: Hart 3
Pens: Hart 4

For Brive:
Galala, Asieshvili, Ribes
Cons: Bezy, Laranjeira
Pens: Teddy, Bezy

Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Etienne Dussartre, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Franck Pourteau, 9 James Hart, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 So'otala Fa'aso'o, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Viliamu Afatia
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Khatchik Vartanov, 18 Manuel Carizza, 19 Antonie Claassen, 20 Antoine Gibert, 21 Albert Vulivuli, 22 Joe Rokocoko, 23 Ben Tameifuna

Brive: 15 Benjamin Lapeyre, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Arnaud Mignardi, 12 Sevenaia Galala, 11 Benito Masilevu, 10 Nicolas Bezy, 9 Teddy Iribaren, 8 Petrus Hauman, 7 Poutasi Luafutu, 6 Said Hireche, 5 Jan Uys, 4 Johan Snyman, 3 Patrick-Albert Toetu, 2 Francois Da Ros, 1 Vivien Devisme
Replacements: 16 Guillaume Ribes, 17 Karlen Asieshvili, 18 Arnaud Mela, 19 Fabien Sanconnie, 20 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 21 Thomas Laranjeira, 22 Seremaia Burotu, 23 Damien Jourdain

Referee: Pierre Brousset