Castres return to winning ways against Toulon
September 14, 2013
Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson attracts the attention of the Castres defence © Getty Images
Defending champions Castres bounced back from their shock defeat to newcomers Oyonnax last weekend with a 22-15 victory over Toulon at the Stade Pierre-Antoine on Saturday.
In a re-match of last season's title-decider, Toulon took an early lead thanks to two penalties from Jonny Wilkinson but Castres clawed their way back into the contest with scrum-half Rory Kockott kicking a penalty and a drop goal. Wilkinson edged his side ahead once more as the half drew to a close but there was still time for Castres hooker Brice Mach to pounce for what proved to be the only try of the game that was converted by Kockott. Wilkinson reduced the arrears again but Kockott ensured his side stayed out of reach with his three second half penalties seeing the hosts home.
Toulon's defeat allowed Clermont Auvergne to claim top spot with a 27-13 victory over Grenoble that extended their unbeaten run at their Stade Marcel-Michelin home to 63 games. Three first half penalties from Morgan Parra put Clermont on course for victory with yellow cards for James Hart and Ben Hand denting Grenoble's hopes. A penalty either side of the break from Julien Caminati kept the visitors in the game but two tries from Damien Chouly dashed their hopes. Hand was then dismissed following his second yellow card and a late try from Kevin Goze was no more than a consolation.
Stade Francais' strong start to the season continued with a 25-18 victory over Brive at the Stade Jean Bouin - their fourth success of the season. Brive notched the only try of the first half through Venioni Voretamaya but four penalties from Jerome Porica ensured the hosts went into the break ahead. Gaetan Germain reduced the arrears with two penalties in the early stages of the second half but Porical kept them at bay before Meyer Bosman crossed for a try. Brive rallied again following a yellow card for Stade's Sakaria Taulofo but a Guillaume Ribes try was not enough to turn the game in their favour.
Perpignan returned to winning ways with a 28-16 victory over Montpellier at the Stade Aime Giral on Friday night. Three tries in the opening quarter of the game from Dewald Duvenage, Justin Purll and Sofiane Guitoune put the hosts on course for victory with the boot of fly-half James Hook hammering home their dominance. Montpellier's only reward for their first half effort was two Benoît Paillaugue penalties and he added another after the break but Perpignan stretched their advantage with a fourth try from Romain Taofifenua just past the hour mark. Montpellier added some gloss to the scoreboard with a late try from Timoci Nagusa but it was a case of too little, too late.
Toulouse returned to winning ways in some style with a 31-7 victory over Biarritz at the Stade Ernest-Wallon. Hosea Gear, Grégory Lamboley, Census Johnston and Christopher Tolofua all crossed before the break and the visitors had notched up three yellow cards - for Benoit Guyot, Tanguy Molcard and Thomas Synaeghel - before they troubled the scoreboard with a try from Aled Brew just past the hour mark. And there was more pain to come with Gaël Fickou completing the rout with Toulouse's fifth try.
Jonathan Sexton was once again a key figure for Racing Metro as they overcame Bayonne at the Stade Jean Dauger. The Irish international gave his side a narrow lead at the break with two penalties but the hosts took control of the game with a try from Lisiate Fa'aoso. But back came Racing with a try from Lisiate Fa'aoso and Sexton's boot seeing them home to their first away win of the campaign.
Bordeaux-Begles brought Oyonnax back down to earth with a thumping 35-10 victory at the Stade André Moga. Blair Connor, Metuisela Talebula and Julien Rey all crossed for the hosts before the break with a try from Miroslav Nemecek keeping Oyonnax in the contest. Oyonnax' hopes were not helped by yellow cards for Jody Daniel Jenneker and Damien Browne and Louis-Benoit Madaule inflicted further woe with the home side's fifth and final try.
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