Top 14 - Round 19 Review
Castres win to claim top spot
January 28, 2010
Racing Metro's Sireli Bobo takes on Clermont Auvergne's Tasesa Lavea © Getty Images
Castres returned to the Top 14 summit with a 32-14 victory over Stade Francais at Stade Pierre-Antoine on Wednesday night.
This season's surprise package battled back from a 14-9 half-time deficit to record their 12th victory of the campaign and edge out Clermont Auvergne at the top of the table. A try from centre Geofffroy Messina and the kicking exploits of fullback Lionel Beauxis and fly-half Ignacio Mieres gave the Parisian side the edge with Romain Teulet keeping the hosts in touch with three penalties.
A yellow card for Stade replacement Rayno Gerber handed the initiative to Castres soon after the break and they soon capitalised wit a try from flanker Chris Masoe. Teulet turned the screw with the conversion and three further penalties and a converted penalty try set the seal on the win.
Clermont Auvergne failed to follow up their recent Heineken Cup exploits as they succumbed to a 33-24 defeat against Racing Metro. The hosts stormed into a 24-0 half-time lead thanks to tries from centre Henry Chavancy, fullback Dan Scarbrough and winger Sireli Bobo. But back came Clermont after the break with three scores of their own through replacement lock Lois Jacquet, centre Gavin Williams and fullback Anthony Floch. But Pierre Berbizier's side held on for the win thanks largely to the boot of fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski who finished the game with 12 points that helped lift Racing to third place in the table.
Perpignan kept the pressure on the leaders with a 49-20 thumping of Bourgoin at Stade Aime Giral on Thursday night. Fullback Joffroy Michel grabbed a try in either half with David Marty, Henry Tuilagi, Christophe Manas and Guilhem Guirado also dotting down while Nicolas Laharrague added 19 points as the hosts reclaimed third place.
Toulouse remain in touch following a 24-6 victory over basement side Albi at the Stade Municipal. Patricio Albacete, Yoann Maestri, Cedric Heymans and Maxime Medard all crossed for tries as the visitors powered to a bonus point win.
Toulon are another side on the up after their 31-19 victory over Montpellier at Stade Felix Mayol. First half tries from centre Mafileo Kefu and No.8 Fontunuupule Auelua put Toulon on course for victory but back came Montpellier with a try from Sakiusa Matadigo after the home side's Sonny Bill Williams had been sin-binned.
Rory Lamont crossed for Toulon's third try after the break to give his side some more breathing room before replacement flanker Oliver Missoup notched his side's fourth try. Felipe Contepomi's conversion took his personal tally to 11 points while a late red card for lock Jocelino Suta took some of the shine of their latest league victory.
In Wednesday night's other game, Brive continued their revival with a 19-14 victory at home to Montauban. Fly-half Fabrice Estebanez grabbed the home side's only try with the fullback Alexis Palisson weighing in with 14 points.
In the final match of the midweek action, Bayonne notched a 15-0 upset win against Biarritz at Stade Jean Dauger. Jean-Baptiste Peyras-Loustalet and Manny Edmonds crossed for tries as the hosts kept Biarritz scoreless for the first time this season.
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