Grenoble shock Toulouse
December 22, 2012
Grenoble celebrate their victory over Toulouse © Getty Images
Grenoble shocked reigning Top 14 champions Toulouse as they claimed a famous 15-6 victory at Stade Lesdiguieres.
Ex-Toulouse scrum-half Valentin Courrent smashed over five penalties as the Top 14 newboys continued as successful return to the top flight with their eighth win of the season.
In response Toulouse could only muster two penalties from scrum-half Sebastien Bezy as they suffered their second successive defeat following their loss to the Ospreys last weekend in the Heineken Cup. The defeat was Toulouse's fifth defeat in all competitions this season.
Jonny Wilkinson guided Toulon to a 15-9 victory over Agen on Saturday evening at the Stade Armandie.
The former England fly-half, who still hopes to be involved in the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia next summer, kicked four penalties and a drop goal as Toulon claimed their 11th win of the season and maintained their position at the top of the table - seven points clear of Clermont.
Clermont Auvergne kept up their pressure on Toulon in the Top 14 with a 28-24 win away to Bordeaux-Begles on Friday.
Camille Lopez kicked two early penalties to put Bordedeaux-Begles 6-0 ahead, but David Skrela soon pulled Clermont level with a brace of penalties of his own. Lopez added a third before Ludovic Radosavljevic dropped a goal to bring Clermont level again. Skrela then put his side ahead for the first time in the match with another penalty two minutes before half-time.
After the break both teams had players sent to the sin-bin. Clermont scrum-half Radosavljevic and Bordeaux-Begles centre Felix Le Bourhis were yellow-carded for exchanging blows and while they were off Clermont centre Regan King went over for the only try of the match, which Skrela converted for a 19-12 lead.
Skrela pushed his team further ahead with another penalty, but out of nowhere flanker Louis Madaule and hooker Oli Avei went over for tries to put the hosts into a 24-22 lead. However, Brock James came off the bench to land a pair of late penalties to wrap up the win for Clermont
Stade Francais secured a 36-23 victory over Biarritz at the Stade Charlety with former England winger Paul Sackey scoring one of the Parisian side's two tries. Francis Fainifo also touched down for Stade, who move above Biarritz into eighth in the Top 14 table.
Jerome Porical, Julian Dupuy and Jules Plisson all weighed in with points from the boot to ensure Biarritz's two tries, through Taku Ngwenya and Jean-Pascal Barraque, and points from the boots of Dimitri Yachvili and Julian Peyrelongue were not enough to overturn the hosts.
Bayonne smashed Mont de Marsan 39-13 at the Stade Jean Dauger with tries coming from Scott Spedding, Manu Ahotaeiloa, Guillaume Bernard, Mike Phillips and Sam Gerber. Benjamin Boyet added ten points from the boot as the hosts moved above Racing Metro in the table.
Castres thrashed Racing Metro 31-10 to move level on points with Toulouse, with Seremaia Bai and Romain Martial both scoring two tires apiece at the Stade Pierre Antoine. Castres, who recorded back-to-back Heineken Cup victories over Glasgow in the last two weeks, dominated the clash and their opponents could only muster a penalty try and five points from the boot of Gaetan Germain.
Meanwhile Perpignan recorded a 30-19 win over Montpellier with Wales international James Hook scoring 20 points for the home side at the Stade Aime Giral. Florian Cazenave and Sebastien Taofifenua both touched down for the hosts as they boosted their end-of-season playoff hopes. In response Benoit Paillague kicked 14 points while Juan Figallo scored a try for Montpellier.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside