Bayonne upset leaders Toulon
March 24, 2013
Bayonne's Marvin O'Connor celebrates his side's victory over leaders Toulon at the Stadio Anoeta © Getty Images
Bayonne held off a second half comeback by Top 14 leaders Toulon to notch an impressive 33-28 victory in their clash at the Estadio Anoeta in San Sebastian on Saturday.
Toulon, who routed Bayonne 59-0 in their meeting earlier this season, rested several of their leading players including fly-half Jonny Wilkinson and centre Matt Giteau with scrum-half Frederic Michalak also missing due to a shoulder injury suffered on France duty during the Six Nations. And they were made to pay by lowly Bayonne who notched tries through fullback Scott Spedding, winger Marvin O'Connor and replacement Sam Gerber. However, Toulon did manage to salvage a bonus point with second half scores from flanker Joe van Niekerk and scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde adding to a first half try from hooker Jean Charles Orioli.
Second placed Clermont Auvergne wasted a chance to claim top spot by throwing away a commanding position against Biarritz at the Parc des Sports Aguilera. Les Jaunards looked on course for victory when leading 28-22 with less than ten minutes remaining thanks largely to tries from David Skrela, Brock James and Davit Zirakashvili. But back came Biarritz with a late try from Benoit Baby and the boot of scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili seeing them home.
The fortunes of the top two allowed Stade Francais to close the gap and they did just that with a crushing 43-16 victory over Stade Francais. Bolstered by the return of their international players, the hosts ran in six tries at the Stade Ernest Wallon with Yoann Huget (2), Vincent Clerc, Yannick Jauzion, Jaba Bregvadze and Maxime Medard all grabbing scores.
Castres kept their play-off hopes alive with 20-9 victory over strugglers Agen at the Stade Pierre-Antoine. A try in either half for centre Romain Cabannes and replacement Yannick Forestier ensured they bounced back from their defeat to title rivals Clermont Auvergne and held onto fourth place. However, Racing Metro remain hot on their heels following their narrow 23-19 victory over Perpignan to dent the Catalans' hopes of a play-off place.
Winger Sireli Bobo created a crucial first half try for fullback Juan Martin Hernandez with fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski also notching six penalties. Replacement fullback Farid Sid scored Perpignan's only try with Wales' James Hook kicking the conversion as well as three penalties.
Montpellier maintained their play-off push with a 16-9 away win against Grenoble at the Stade Lesdiguières. France international Francois Trinh-Duc notched the only try of the game with the kicking exploits of scrum-half Benoît Paillaugue and replacement Martin Bustos Moyano seeing them home.
Elsewhere, Bordeaux Begles hammered basement side Mont-de-Marsan 40-7 at the Stade Andre Moga. The hosts scored six tries in the process with fullback Bruce Reihana, winger Metuisela Talebula, centre Felix Le Bourhis, hooker Ole Avei and replacements Andrew Malei and Federico Nicolás Sanchez all crossing.
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