Oyonnax stun defending champions Castres
September 8, 2013
Montpellier's Jonathan Pelissie proves elusive during his side's clash with Toulouse © Getty Images
Top 14 newcomers Oyonnax continued their sensational start to the new season with a 19-9 victory over title-holders Castres at the Stade Charles Mathon on Sunday.
Oyonnax notched the only try of the game through winger Silvère Tian with the boot of fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta landing 14 points courtesy of four penalties and a conversion to steer the home side to just their latest scalp having already accounted for Clermont Auvergne and Biarritz at home this season. Scrum-half Rory Kockott landed three penalties for Castres but they were a shadow of the side that lifted the Bouclier de Brennus last term.
Elsewhere, Toulon returned to top spot with a 24-13 victory over Biarritz at the Parc des Sports des Aguilera. The ever-reliable Jonny Wilkinson gave Toulon a 6-3 lead at the break but it could have been worse with the homes side losing scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili to a yellow card midway through the first half. Yachvili returned to drag his side back in the game but Toulon took control of the contest with another penalty from Matt Giteau and a try from Maxime Mermoz. Biarritz hit back with a try from Ueleni Fono but a converted try from Giteau and another penalty proved enough to propel Toulon to their third win of the campaign.
Clermont Auvergne missed the chance to reclaim top spot with Stade Francais claiming a 23-16 victory in their clash at the Stade Jean Bouin. Clermont led 6-3 at the break thanks to two penalties from Brock James but they ended the half with 14-men following the sin-binning of Julien Pierre who was yellow carded along with Stade's Pascal Pape. Clermont also lost Lee Byrne to a yellow card at the start of the second half before the game swung Stade's way with a try from Hugo Bonneval. Clermont struck back with a try courtesy of Pierre but a try from Stade's Julien Arias put the result beyond doubt. Pape was sent off in the closing stages following his second yellow card but Clermont had to settle for a losing bonus point that was secured with a late penalty from James.
Earlier in the day, Montpellier had climbed to the Top 14 summit with a 25-0 bonus point victory over Toulouse at the Stade Yves du Manoir on Sunday. In-form scrum-half Jonathan Pelissie put the hosts on course for victory with a superb opening try on the half hour and followed that up with the conversion and then a penalty on the stroke of half-time. Fullback Anthony Floch added another penalty after the break with a subsequent yellow card for centre Florian Fritz for a punch adding to Toulouse's woes. Montpellier capitalised with another try by Floch and they added another through Benoit Sicart with ten minutes remaining that was converted by Benoit Paillaugue.
Racing Metro returned to winning ways with a narrow 19-16 victory over Perpignan at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir. Fly-half Jonathan Sexton was once again a key presence with the Ireland international notching 14 points with the boot - including a conversion following Benjamin Fall's second half try. An under-strength Perpignan threatened an upset with a second half penalty try bringing them to within three points and a yellow card for Adrien Plante handing them a numerical advantage. But they were soon down to 14-men themselves following the sin-binning of Tommaso Benvenuti for a high tackle. A late Tommy Allan penalty - his third of the game - proved only enough for a losing bonus point.
Elsewhere, the kicking exploits of Valentin Courrent and Julien Caminati propelled Grenoble to a 21-14 victory over Bordeaux Begles at Stade Lesdiguières. The visitors crossed for the only try of the game through Charles Brousse but it was not enough to overhaul their hosts. Yellow cards for Brive's Petrus Hauman and Bayonne's Joe Rokocoko were the highlights of the first half at the Stade Amédée-Domenech but the game came alive after the break with tries from Guillaume Namy and Riaan Swanepoel enough to carry the hosts to victory.
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