Brilliant Brive deny Toulouse
November 2, 2013
Toulon's Matt Giteau feels the force of Bordeaux's Metuisela Talebula © Getty Images
Brive denied Toulouse the chance of regaining top spot after a well-deserved 25-13 upset victory in the Top 14 to extend their unbeaten home record to five.
The hosts started as they meant to go on and had crossed the whitewash inside the first minute, only for it to be ruled out by the TMO. But it set a precedent for the match and almost immediately Guillaume Ribes bundled over from close range, before three penalties from Gaetan Germain gave Brive a commanding 16-0 lead at the break.
Toulouse lost Thierry Dusautoir to the sin-bin in the second half and Germain turned the screws from the kicking tee with two more efforts, and despite a Yoann Huget try for the visitors a final Germain penalty put the tie beyond the reach of Toulouse.
Biarritz produced a massive upset as they belied their position at the bottom of the table by beating Racing Metro 9-6 in a scrappy affair. In an interesting development for Ireland boss Joe Schmidt ahead of next weekend's Samoa clash, Jonathan Sexton remained on the bench throughout the Metro defeat after returning to Paris on Friday evening.
In Saturday's other games Montpellier recorded a 25-18 win over Grenoble, Stade Francais prevailed 13-9 over Bayonne, while Oyonnax beat USA Perpignan 22-9.
Toulon had gone top on Friday evening by virtue of their sixth win of the season as they easily dispatched Bordeaux-Begles 37-17 at Stade Felix-Mayol.
Jonny Wilkinson has struggled with his form of late but he was back to his devastating best as he slotted 22 points for the home side thanks to two drop-goals, two conversions and four penalties. It was a tense affair in the first-half as the teams headed into the break locked at 12 apiece with Pierre Bernard keeping the scoreboard ticking over for the away side.
But come the second 40, it was all Toulon as Matt Giteau, Ali Williams and Delon Armitage all scored - Williams' was an exceptional effort as he collected a Wilkinson cross kick to dot the ball down. Metuisela Talebula scored for Bordeaux but it proved to be little more than a consolation effort.
Brock James nailed a last-gasp drop-goal to clinch a 22-22 draw for Clermont away at Top 14 champions Castres.
It was a tale of two boots as James kicked 17 points for Clermont while Rory Kockott scored all of Castres' points as he contributed a try, a conversion and five penalties. The South African scrum-half's try came just two minutes after Noa Nakaitaci saw yellow for Clermont. But the away side battled hard with Julien Bardy crossing for a second-half try while James' boot brought up their 22-point total.
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