Impressive Montpellier regain top spot
April 12, 2014
Rory Kockott is stopped by Clermont's Damien Chouly © Getty Images
Clermont's spell at the top lasted less than 24 hours as Montpellier regained the Top 14 lead with a 36-30 victory over Grenoble at Stade des Alpes. At half-time with a 27-6 lead it seemed Montpellier were set for a big win and although Grenoble fought back well they were never close enough to worry the leaders.
Bryan Habana scored a try on his comeback from injury as Toulon edged out Bordeaux 22-20 after trailing 20-9. Fourteen points from Frederic Michalak proved the difference between the sides. Toulon backs coach Pierre Mignoni, in charge as head coach Bernard Laporte is serving a 16-week ban, said he was delighted with the result. "This is a victory that changes everything," he said. "To win the match after a catastrophic first half where we weren't in the match, I have to congratulate the players for their comeback."
Stade Francais' play-off hopes took a blow as they went down 24-19 at lowly Bayonne where eight penalties from boot of Martin Bustos Moyano secured victory for the home side. The game's only try came from Stade's Waisea Nayacalevu.
Racing Metro kept their challenge on track with a 37-7 win over bottom side Biarritz . As has so often been the case this season, Biarritz were no match for the home side.
Perpignan climbed above Oyonnax at the wrong end of the table with a 22-12 win, James Hook scoring 17 of his side's 22 points.
Clermont had to come from behind against Castres to win 23-11, and in doing so they regained top spot in the Top 14 and extended their remarkable home record of winning matches to 76. Castres led 8-6 at the break, thanks to a try from Capo Ortega, and it was not until almost an hour that Wesley Fofana scored Clermont's first try. The boot of Rory Kockott kept Castres within two points until five minutes from time when winger Napolioni Nalaga sealed the home win. "We came across a Castres team that came looking for points," Clermont scrum-half Morgan Parra said. "We struggled in the first half but we smiled in the second. We have the extra pressure of wanting to stay unbeaten. Everyone gives it their all when they come here."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action