Brilliant Castres prevail in Montpellier
November 23, 2013
Montpellier's Yoan Audrin takes the ball into contact against Castres © Getty Images
Geoffrey Palis scored all his side's points as reigning Top 14 champions Castres returned to their best as they earned a brilliant 20-16 victory away at Montpellier.
In a match which swung back and forth it was a Palis try nine minutes from time which edged the visitors in front, before a penalty from the 22-year-old moments later gave Castres a four-point cushion they never relinquished. Former Springbok Wynand Olivier had crossed midway through the first half to put the home side narrowly ahead, as they took a 10-9 lead in at the interval.
The second half was at first an exchange of kicks between Palis and Benoit Paillaugue but in the end it was the Castres man who prevailed late on.
Bordeaux earned a surprise win over Stade Francais in a try-fest as Stade Chaban-Delmas, outscoring their opponents six tries to two to ease to a 45-23 victory. Tries from Jandre Marais, Clement Maynardier (2), Darly Domvo, Blair Connor and Benat Auzqui proved to be enough for Bordeaux as they belied their lowly league position in style.
Basement outfit Biarritz earned just their second victory of the season as they stunned Brive 14-9, with Damien Traille's 21st-minute try setting them on their way for a much-needed win. Clermont ran in six tries as they dismantled Racing Metro 47-7 at Stade Marcel-Michelin, while a late try from Yann David ensured Toulouse kept within touching distance of Toulon at the top of the table as they edged past Oyonnax 14-3.
In Friday night's game Jonny Wilkinson showed once again that he is still one of the best kickers in world rugby as he guided Toulon past Perpignan 15-9 at Stade Mayol to keep them firmly in control at the top of the league.
In a game of limited chances the outcome was determined from the kicking tee and, as he has so often in his career, Wilkinson came out on top as he grabbed all his side's points. The hosts led 9-3 at half-time and two kicks in quick succession from the 2003 World Cup winner gave Toulon vital breathing space, though a pair of late Perpignan penalties ensured a nervy finish for the reigning European champions.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry
Are the margins between the teams in the Six Nations getting smaller year-on-year? Huw Richards gives some answers