Racing Metro upset Toulon
January 6, 2013
Toulon's Delon Armitage fails to lay claim to a high ball under pressure from Racing Metro's Bejamin Fall © Getty Images
Racing Metro handed leaders Toulon a rare defeat with a 19-15 upset of their high-flying rivals at the Stade Felix Mayol on Sunday night.
Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson and his Racing counterpart Jonathan Wisniewski traded blows in the first half with the former England international kicking the hosts into a 9-6 lead at the break. But Racing centre Henry Chavancy struck with a crucial try just after the break that was converted by his No.10.
Wilkinson brought his side back to within a point with his fourth penalty but a determined Racing would not be overhauled with Wisniewski giving them a little more breathing room from the kicking tee. Wilkinson offered hope of a late turnaround with another successful kick with five minutes remaining but Wisniewski would have the final say with a match-clinching penalty moments later.
Clermont Auvergne closed the gap on Toulon with a 36-18 victory over Montpellier at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Saturday. First half tries from centre Wesley Fofana and fullback Jean Marcellin Buttin put Clermont on course for victory with a second half penalty try hammering home their dominance. Scrum-half Morgan Parra weighed in with 21 points to ensure Les Jaunards extended their unbeaten home run to 53 matches. Montpellier had threatened an upset with the opening try from winger Martin Bustos Moyano after only two minutes but a second half score from replacement Benoît Paillaugue was no more than a consolation.
Toulouse remain on the leaders' heels following a narrow 16-12 victory over Mont-de-Marsan at the Stade Guy Boniface. Veteran hooker William Servat scored his first try since coming out of retirement to solve Toulouse's injury woes before fly-half Luke McAlister kicked them into a 10-point lead. Two late penalties from Jean-Baptiste Claverie offered hope of a late turnaround but Toulouse held on for their 11th win of the campaign that cemented their third place in the table.
Grenoble continued their recent run of fine form with a 14-12 victory over fellow high-flyers Castres at the Stade Lesdiguieres. The visitors outscored the hosts two tries to one but the kicking exploits of fly-half Blair Stewart and scrum-half Jonathan Pelissié ensured Grenoble recorded their third straight victory.
Elsewhere this weekend, Perpignan bounced back from their mauling at the hands of Toulon last time out with a 26-16 victory over Bordeaux Begles. The boot of scrum-half David Mele put the Catalans in control but the visitors threatened an upset with a late try from Metuisela Talebulamaijaina putting them into the lead. But back came Perpignan with Mele edging his side ahead once more before fly-half Gavin Hume set the seal on the win with a try.
Stade Francais were another side to return to winning ways with a 21-13 victory over fellow strugglers Bayonne at Stade Charlety. Bayonne began brightly and notched the only try of the game through No.8 Dwayne Haare but Stade Francais weathered the early storm with seven penalties from fullback Jerome Porical eventually seeing them home.
In Friday night's game, the boot of fly-half Julien Peyrelongue steered Biarritz to a 16-11 victory over Agen. No.8 Opeti Fonua struck with the opening try for Agen and fly-half Ben Seymour would stretch their lead but Biarritz rallied with a try from hooker Arnaud Heguy pulling them level before Peyrelongue took control of the contest.
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