Toulouse retain Top 14 top spot
December 4, 2011
Yannick Jauzion tries to force his way through the Toulon defence © Getty Images
Toulouse remained at the summit of the Top 14 Orange after dispatching Toulon 33-12 on Saturday.
England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson got the scoreboard ticking over for the visitors after six minutes with a penalty but their joy proved to be short-lived with Timoci Matanavou striking for Toulouse after 16 minutes. Former All Blacks half-back Luke McAlister added the extras from the tee with Wilkinson reducing the deficit to one point moments later with a penalty. But in the 23rd minute of the match Toulon were reduced to 14 men when hooker Jean-Phillippe Genevois was sent to the sin-bin for preventing a quick penalty. McAlister made the most of their one man advantage with two penalties from the tee but try as they might, Toulouse failed to add to their solitary try prior to the half-time whistle. Instead it was two penalties from Wilkinson in the 31st and 38th minute which meant the hosts went into the break with a narrow 13-12 lead.
And in the 45th minute it was Toulouse's turn to play with 14 men when Census Johnston was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle but Toulon failed to add to their 12 point tally. And Vincent Clerc crossed the line in the 58th minute to stretch the champion's lead. A late try from scrum-half Luke Burgess in the 76th minute - with Jean Marc-Doussain adding the extras - added the finishing touches to a physical game with the hosts finishing the match with 14 men following Jean Bouilhou's sin-bin.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Clermont Auvergne kept the pressure on Toulouse with a 33-16 win over Castres at the Marcel Michelin stadium. Clermont half-back Morgan Parra and Castres' Pierre Bernard got the scoreboard ticking over in the opening minutes with a penalty apiece before fly-half Brock James struck for the home side with a try in the 14th minute. James kicked the conversion for his own try with Parra contributing two more penalties from the tee and Bernard responding with one of his own with Clermont going into the half-time break 16-9 in front.
Scottish lock Nathan Hines's try in the 55th minute followed up Parra's 46th minute penalty to put Clermont firmly in the driving seat. And man-of-the-match Parra scored a try of his own in the 70th minute to secure the win. A late try from Seremaia Baikeinuku put some gloss on the scoreboard for Castres but it was too little too late.
Stade Francais thrashed Racing Metro 29-3 at the Stade de France on Saturday night. Stade racked up a 16-0 lead at half time after a 25-minute try from Pascal Pape, which was converted by Julien Dupuy, who also landed two penalties, and a drop goal from Felipe Contepomi.
Racing fullback Jonathan Wisniewski scored the visitor's first points early in the second half but the hosts took charge again late on with Contepomi kicking two penalties before converting Jerome Fillol's late try.
Agen recorded their seventh win of the season as they beat Bayonne 37-18 at the Stade Armandie on Sunday afternoon. Bayonne were trailing by just two points going into the final 20 minutes but Agen scored two tries in the final ten minutes as they clinched the victory. Fly-half Conrad Barnard kicked 20 points with five penalties, a drop goal and a conversion while wingers Brice Dulin and Saimoni Vaka and centre Junior Pelesasa crossed for tries.
Barnard kicked three first-half penalties while Yoann Huget touched down for the visitors as the sides went in 9-5 at the break. Bayonne continued to keep pace with Agen after half time with Marc Baget-Rabarou touching down and Benjamin Boyet converting in response to Dulin's try. Cedric Garcia landed two drop goals as Bayonne closed to within two points. But Barnard landed a further penalty on 66 minutes and then converted Pelesasa's try before Vaka crossed in the final two minutes with Valentin Courrent converting to seal the win.
Biarritz's woeful start to the season continued as they lost 30-23 to Montpellier at the Parc des Sports Aguilera. Biarritz went into the break leading 11-8 after winger Taku Ngwenya touched down for the hosts and fly-half Julien Peyrelongue kicked two penalties. Timoci Nagusa's try and Martin Bustos Moyano's penalty kept the visitors in the game.
And replacement Mickael De Marco touched down early in the second half to put Montpellier ahead with Benoit Paillaugue converting. Two penalties from Benoit Baby put Biarritz back in front but the visitors responded with a try from Gonzalez Amorosino, which was converted by Bustos Moyano. Baby and Bustos Moyano then traded penalty goals before Montpellier fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc touched down with four minutes to go and Biarritz could only muster a Baby penalty.
Lyon upset Perpignan as they recorded a 19-12 victory at Matmut Stadium. Perpignan took a 6-0 lead after penalties from fullback Jerome Porical but Lyon hitback with two penalties from his opposite number Romain Loursac and a try from winger Remy Grosso, which was converted by the Lyon fullback.
Lyon consolidated their lead after the break with a drop goal from fly-half Xavier Sadourny and a further penalty from Loursac. Perpignan rang the changes early in the second half in a bid to change the course of the match but they could only manage a late penalty from Porical as they slipped to their eighth defeat of the campaign.
On Friday, A last minute try from Tonga winger Vunga Lilo was enough to guide Bordeaux to a 16-12 win over Brive.
Lilo's try gave Bordeaux their fifth win of the season in the Top 14 while Brive have now laboured to eight defeats from their opening 12 games of the campaign. In a close first-half, penalties from Gerard Fraser and Mathieu Belie put the game into half-time deadlocked at six a piece.
Fraser opened the scoring in the second 40 to give Bordeaux an early lead but Brive soon struck back through Belie. And Julien Caminati put the away side in front with just five minutes left on the clock with a well struck penalty. But Bordeaux to their credit refused to take the easy option and opt for the draw and instead went for the all important try. And four minutes past the full-time siren after numerous phases, Lilo pounced to break Brive hearts. Fraser's conversion was incidental but it was the crowning glory on an epic finish to the match.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The fairytale continued right to the end for the magic man." Tom Hamilton reports on the game that saw Brian O'Driscoll bid adieu with the Six Nations title
"It is a sign of how far this England team have come that they looked disappointed at the full-time whistle having just put 52 points on Italy." Tom Hamilton writes
We bring together a selection of the best pictures from the final round of the Six Nations and one which ended in Irish victory
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999