Top 14 wrap: Toulouse start strong

Date published: August 23 2015

Toulouse kicked off the post-Guy Novès era with a comfortable win as Ugo Mola got the better of former club Brive.

Elsewhere Grenoble and Montpellier edged high-scoring clashes against Agen and Oyonnax respectively.

And Bordeaux-Bègles did just enough to see off Castres in a battle between two play-off contenders.

Earlier in the day Clermont had made the perfect start to their season with a convincing 44-6 win away at La Rochelle.


Toulon 22-27 Racing 92

La Rochelle 6-44 Clermont
Bordeaux-Bègles 19-16 Castres
Toulouse 24-7 Brive
Montpellier 35-19 Oyonnax
Grenoble 38-23 Agen

Stade Français 34-18 Pau

Bordeaux-Bègles 19-16 Castres
Stade Chaban Delmas, Bordeaux

Bordeaux hung on for a narrow victory against a stubborn Castres side at Chaban Delmas.

Bordeaux edged the early exchanges with two penalties from Pierre Bernard to one from Benjamin Urdapilleta.

Then midway through the half they crossed for the game's first try, with Blair Connor first to a loose ball after a big hit in midfield. He showed his pace to get away before dummying to fool the final defender and race under the posts.

Bernard's conversion made it 13-3, but two penalties from Urdapilleta closed the gap to seven points at the break, either side of one from Bernard.

Leading 16-9 at half-time, Bordeaux stretched the lead to ten with another penalty from Bernard but they couldn't strike the killer blow.

And with seven minutes remaining it was Castres who scored through replacement second row Benjamin Desroches after a break from Antoine Dupont.

Julien Dumora converted to make it a three-point game, but Castres then lost Marc-Antoine Rallier to a yellow card for a high tackle and they had to settle for a bonus point.

The scorers:

For Bordeaux-Bègles:
Con: Bernard
Pens: Bernard 3

For Castres:
Con: Dumora
Pens: Urdapilleta 3
Yellow Card: Rallier


Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Jean-Baptiste Dubie, 13 Felix le Bourhis, 12 Charles Brousse, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Matthew Clarkin, 6 Louis Madaule, 5 Jandré Marais, 4 Julien Le Devedec, 3 Albert Toetu, 2 Beñat Auzqui, 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Clément Maynadier, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Berend Botha, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Hugh Chalmers, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Julian Rey, 23 Francisco Gomez Kodela

Castres: 15 Romain Martial, 14 David Smith, 13 Rudi Wulf, 12 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 11 Remy Grosso, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Julien Seron, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Ibrahim Diarra, 6 Yannick Caballero, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Karena Wihongi, 2 Brice Mach, 1 Antoine Tichit
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Florian Houerie, 18 Benjamin Desroches, 19 Mathieu Babillot, 20 Lucas Dupont, 21 Julien Dumora, 22 Florian Vialelle, 23 Yohan Montes.

Referee: Romain Poite

Toulouse 24-7 Brive
Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse

Toulouse produced a dominant first-half performance to down Brive, before struggling in the second half at Ernest Wallon.

Much as they had in this fixture last season, Toulouse dominated from the start, scoring their first try through young winger Arthur Bonneval. 

After just five minutes he was put into a gap by Toby Flood, and showed all his pace to race over, with Flood adding the extras.

Toulouse were breaking through at will, and their second try came after another long period of possession in Brive territory, Imanol Harinordoquy again the man to cross, with Vincent Clerc producing the final pass.

Flood converted from the touchline and then almost had a try of his own when he was first to Luke McAlister's chip into the Brive 22. He didn't have the pace to go all the way, but Yann David was on hand to collect the offload and score.

After Flood had converted once more, and McAlister added a penalty for Mola's team, who led 24-0 at the break.

Brive came out much-improved in the second half, putting their hosts under pressure without finding a way through.

Toulouse also missed a number of chances on the counter-attack but they lost their composure in the latter stages, with Christopher Tolofua sin-binned for throwing the ball at an opponent.

After setting up camp in the Toulouse 22, Brive finally got their reward with a penalty try, converted by Thomas Laranjeira, denying Toulouse a bonus point.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Bonneval, Harinordoquy, David
Cons: Flood 3
Pen: McAlister
Yellow Card: Tolofua

For Brive:
Con: Laranjeira
Yellow Card: Mela


Toulouse: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Yann David, 12 Toby Flood, 11 Arthur Bonneval, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Sébastian Bezy, 8 Gillian Galan, 7 Imanol Harinordoquy, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Romain Millo-Chluski, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Edwin Maka, 20 Gregory Lamboley, 21 Talalelei Gray, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Florian Fritz

Brive: 15 Romain Sola, 14 Alfi Mafi, 13 Arnaud Mignardi, 12 Benjamin Petre, 11 Elia Radikedike, 10 Nicolas Bézy, 9 Teddy Iribaren, 8 Fabien Sanconnie, 7 Said Hireche, 6 Petrus Hauman, 5 Arnaud Mela, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Giorgi Jgenti, 2 Thomas Acquier, 1 Goderdzi Shvelidze
Replacements: 16 Francois da Ros, 17 Lukas Pointud, 18 Victor Lebas, 19 Sisa Koyamaibole, 20 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 21 Thomas Laranjeira, 22 Benito Masilevu, 23 Damien Jourdain

Referee: Thomas Charabas

Montpellier 35-19 Oyonnax
Altrad Stadium, Montpellier

Montpellier finished strongly to open their campaign with a bonus-point success, but were given a scare by Oyonnax.

Oyonnax started quickly with two early penalties from new fly-half Nicky Robinson, to open up a 6-0 lead.

Having been under the cosh, Montpellier responded with the first try of the game, when Fabien Cibray was charged down, and Cameron Wright, an early replacement for Benoit Paillaugue, was the beneficiary on debut.

Oyonnax hit back with a long period of a possession, opening up space out wide for winger Dug Codjo to power over. Robinson converted to make it 13-5 to the visitors.

Again Montpellier responded through Benjamin Fall who went over from close range on the left, but for the second time Ben Lucas was off-target with the conversion.

Robinson knocked over another penalty for the visitors but they were reduced to 14 just before the break when Cibray tackled a man while offside, and Lucas found the target for the first time with a penalty to make it 16-13 at the break.

Montpellier started the second half perfectly, with debutant Jesse Mogg scoring his first try as he was quickest to Fall's kick through following an initial break from Timoci Nagusa. Lucas' conversion made it 20-16 to the home side.

Robinson cut the deficit to a point with another penalty, but Montpellier responded with a penalty of their own through Lucas. 

Still, Oyonnax were very much in the game, but one incursion into the Montpellier 22, they lost the ball, with Nagusa pouncing and racing away before feeding Andrew Smith for the try.

And they completed the win with a final try from Sitaleki Timani from close range, sealing all five points.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Tries: Wright, Fall, Mogg, Smith, Timani
Cons: Lucas 2
Pens: Lucas 2

For Oyonnax:
Con: Robinson
Pens: Robinson 4
Yellow Card: Cibray


Montpellier: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Anthony Tuitavake, 11 Benjamin Fall, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Benoît Paillaugue, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Kélian Galletier, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Antoine Battut, 3 Bees Roux, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Robins Tchale-Watchou, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Stan Wright, 21 Ilian Perraux, 22 Marvin O'Connor, 23 Pat Cilliers

Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos, 14 Dug Codjo, 13 Enele Taufa, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11Silvère Tian, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Fabien Cibray, 8 Pierrick Gunther, 7 Florian Faure, 6 Olivier Missoup, 5 Mickael de Marco, 4 George Robson, 3 Antoine Guillamon, 2 Thomas Bordes, 1 Laurent Delboulbès
Replacements: 16 Jody Jenneker, 17 Marc Clerc, 18 Fabrice Metz, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Regis Lespinas, 22 Vincent Martin, 23 Lukas Rapant

Referee: Laurent Cardona

Grenoble 38-23 Agen
Stade des Alpes, Grenoble

Grenoble downed promoted Agen, running in six tries in total, but not without being pushed hard  by their visitors.

Grenoble looked to be on their way to a comfortable victory after two tries in the first 13 minutes from Fabrice Estebanez and Fabien Alexandre. Agen were also reduced to 14 during that period, with George Tilsley yellow-carded four minutes into his debut for a stamp.

Agen responded though, with Burton Francis dummying his way through in midfield before feeding Mathieu Lamoulie for a simple finish.

Francis converted, before adding two penalties to give Agen a 13-12 lead at the break.

Grenoble started the second half as they had the first, with Fabien Gengenbacher, starting at fly-half after the late withdrawal of Jonathan Wisniewski, scoring their third try. Spotting a gap in midfield, he ghosted his way through for the try, with Estebanez converting.

The lead lasted just six minutes though, as Agen crossed through Marc Giraud off the back of a strong scrum. Francis' conversion made it 20-19 to the visitors.

The final quarter was all Grenoble however, running in three tries, the first from Xavier Mignot after good work from Nigel Hunt.

Francis replied with a penalty, but Grenoble then finished with tries from Alexandre and Hunt, claiming the bonus point in the process.

The scorers:

For Grenoble:
Estebanez, Alexandre 2, Gengenbacher, Mignot, Hunt
Cons: Estebanez, Hart 2

For Agen:
Lamoulie, Giraud
Cons: Francis 2
Pens: Francis 3
Yellow Card: Tilsley


Grenoble: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Xavier Mignot, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Armand Battle, 10 Fabien Gengenbacher, 9 Charl Mcleod, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Fabien Alexandre, 6 Mahamadou Diaby, 5 James Percival, 4 Benjamin Hand, 3 Dayna Edwards, 2 Arnaud Héguy, 1 Fabien Barcella
Replacements: 16 Laurent Bouchet, 17 Walter Desmaison, 18 Denis Coulson, 19 Peter Kimlin, 20 Jonathan Best, 21 James Hart, 22 Clement Gelin, 23 Nigel Hunt

Agen: 15 Mathieu Lamoulie, 14 George Tilsley, 13 Julien Heriteau, 12 Lionel Mazars, 11 Pierre Fouyssac, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Alexis Balès, 8 Marc Giraud, 7 Antoine Erbani, 6 Luke Hamilton, 5 William Demotte, 4 Tom Murday, 3 Dave Ryan, 2 Mike Tadjer, 1 Arsène N'Nomo
Replacements: 16 Hannes Franklin, 17 Giorgi Tetrashvili, 18 Api Naikatini, 19 Corentin Braendlin, 20 Clement Darbo, 21 Bautista Guemes, 22 Eroni Vasiteri Narumasa, 23 Nicolas Chocou

Referee: Cedric Marchat