Toulon hit Biarritz for six
March 9, 2013
Nick Kennedy grabs his score for Toulon © Getty Images
Toulon maintained their two-point lead at the summit of the Top 14 thanks to a 50-15 thrashing of Biarritz on Saturday.
With new recruits Rocky Elsom and Danie Rossouw watching on from the stands, Toulon ran in six tries against their Top 14 rivals. Aled Brew and Benoit Baby bagged tries for Biarritz but Jonny Wilkinson kept the scoreboard ticking over for the home side from the tee while Bakkies Botha, Alexis Palisson, Matt Giteau, Nick Kennedy, Rudi Wulf and Sebastien Bruno all crossed for Toulon.
Clermont Auvergne are hot on their heels in second and they too had it easy on Saturday as they defeated Castres 37-10. Sitiveni Sivivatu, Gerhard Vosloo, Brock James and Napolioni Nalaga secured tries for Clermont. Romain Martial grabbed a late consolation for Castres but the boot of James and David Skrela kept Clermont out in front who are honing in on a home semi-final in the playoffs.
Toulouse survived an almighty scare to maintain their third place in the Top 14 as they beat Bordeaux-Begles 33-32 at home. The Top 14 champions were outscored four tries to two but Lionel Beauxis' boot kept Toulouse out in front. William Servat and Yves Donguy scored for Toulouse while Blair Connor, Heini Adams, Laurent Delboulbes and Matthew Clarkin crossed for Bordeaux. Camille Lopez kicked nine penalties for them but despite their valiant effort they only came away from the Stade Ernest-Wallon with a losing bonus point.
Perpignan went join sixth with Montpellier thanks to a narrow 20-18 win at home over Grenoble. Grenoble are in free-fall at the moment after a promising start to the season while the Catalan side will be hoping to secure a place in next season's Heineken Cup. The home team stormed into a 20-6 lead thanks to tries from Dan Leo and Sione Piukala and 10 points from Leicester-bound David Mele but Grenoble rallied in the second-half and nearly pulled off a stunning comeback. Valentin Courrent kept the scoreboard ticking over from the tee while Rida Jahouer and Rudi Coetzee crossed but it was not quite enough to secure the win.
Gerhard Vosloo stretches over for Clermont © Getty Images
Stade Francais compounded misery on basement side Mont-de-Marsan thanks to a 42-14 triumph. Fullback Yohann Durquet scored the away team's only try while Parisian giants Stade ran in five. Djibril Camara grabbed a brace for Stade while Jerome Fillol, Julien Dupuy and Remi Bonfils also scored.
Agen are still deeply rooted in the relegation mire after they fell 30-20 at home to Bayonne. Flankers Remi Vaquin and Jean Monribot scored for the home side while Bayonne ran in three through a double from Scott Spedding and a further try from Sebastien Rouet.
Racing Metro claimed their eighth Top 14 victory in succession with a 17-15 win over Montpellier in a match that was marred by a terrible injury to the referee.
Mathieu Raynal was stretchered off and taken to hospital after being caught up in a tangle with players. Scans later revealed he had suffered a double fracture to his tibia and fibula. For Racing, though, it was a good evening as they rose up to fifth, ahead of Montpellier, whom they had been level on points with going into the match.
Racing went into the break 17-3 up after tries from Masi Masadigo and Henry Chavancy with conversions from Olly Barkley and Sebastien Descons. Montpellier responded in the second half with Benoit Paillaugue kicking four unanswered penalties but Racing held on to claim the victory.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery