Toulon secure first place with rout
November 30, 2012
Perpignan's Guilhem Guirado takes the attack to Agen during their clash at the Stade Aime Giral © Getty Images
Toulon cemented their spot at the summit of the Top 14 with a comfortable 39-3 win over Grenoble on Saturday.
The league-leaders crossed for five tries against Grenoble with David Smith getting the scoreboard ticking over after just seven minutes. Outstanding flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe grabbed another in the 19th minute while Jonny Wilkinson kept the scoreboard ticking over with his boot. And in the second 40, Toulon cantered to the four-try bonus point with Jean Charles Orioli, Delon Armitage and Smith's second securing their comfortable win.
Racing Metro left it late to claim a 23-15 victory over Stade Francais at the Stade Yves du Manoir.
Five penalties from scrum-half Julien Dupuy had put Stade on course for victory. But Racing, who had earlier scored through Dimitri Szarzewski, rallied late on with Fabrice Estebanez scoring five minutes from time and scrum-half Maxime Machenaud slotting a late penalty to deny the visitors a losing bonus point.
Earlier on Saturday, Toulouse condemned Clermont Auvergne to just their third loss of the season with a powerful performance that secured them a 30-22 victory.
Toulouse took control of the match in the first-half with Yann David and Luke Burgess' tries putting them in the ascendancy while Luke McAlister kept the scoreboard ticking over with the boot. Yoann Huget crashed over straight after the break for Toulouse and the home side looked to have the game in the bag. Benson Stanley's try in the 68th minute, along with Morgan Parra's deadly boot, gave Clermont a glimmer of hope but Toulouse held on for the win.
Castres are fourth after they overcame Mont-de-Marsan 31-15. The home side failed to score any tries while Castres' win came thanks to three second-half scores with Rory Kockott, Remy Tales and Yannick Caballero all crossing.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Montpellier edged past Bayonne 29-22 with Agustin Creevy, Alexandre Bias and Johnnie Beattie scoring. Biarritz were also in action and they survived a scare to prevail 25-22 against Bordeaux-Begles. Biarritz's sole try came from Imanol Harinordoquy while Dimitri Yachvili slotted 20 points. Bordeaux managed to cross the whitewash three times with Metuisela Talebulamaijaina grabbing a brace alongside Camille Lopez's score.
And on Friday, Perpignan snapped a two-game losing streak with a comprehensive 39-13 victory over Agen in their Top 14 clash at the Stade Aime Giral.
A try from centre David Marty and the boot of fly-half James Hook steered the hosts into a narrow 14-13 half-time lead with Agen, riding a five-game losing run of their own, staying in the contest thanks to tries from fullback Raphael Lagarde and centre Miguel Avramovic.
But Hook eased his side further ahead after the break before winger Farid Sid and scrum-half Florian Cazenave crossed in a five minute spell midway through the second half. And hooker Guilhem Guirado wrapped up the win with his side's fourth try just four minutes from time. The result lifts Perpignan to seventh in the table while Agen still languish in 12th.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September