Castres seize top spot
October 15, 2011
Clermont lock Lois Jacquet goes on the charge against Agen © Getty Images
Lyon 18 - 6 Stade FranÃ§ais Toulon 38 - 0 Perpignan Castres 24 - 3 Toulouse Bayonne 17 - 26 Montpellier Bordeaux Begles 22 - 18 Racing Metro Brive 32 - 7 Biarritz Clermont Auvergne 29 - 13 Agen
Castres upset reigning champions Toulouse 24-3 at Stade Pierre-Antoine to move to the summit of the Top 14 on Friday night.
Castres scrum-half Rory Kockott kicked all 24 points for the hosts in a game dominated by the boot. The South African landed four penalties in the first half as Castres built a solid 12-0 lead going into half time. And he notched another three three-pointers after the break while Toulouse could manage just one penalty from Kockott's opposite number Nicolas Bezy.
Despite both sides going down to 14 men midway through the second half with Remy Tales and Timoci Matanavou both being sinbinned, neither side could find a route to the try line. Consequently Kockott's boot was enough to put Castres one point above Clermont Auvergne in the table as Toulouse dropped to third.
In Sunday's clash, Lyon claimed their first home win of the Top 14 season with a hard-fought 18-6 victory over Stade Francais at Stade Gerland.
In a try-less encounter, Lyon were on the back foot for long periods but a dogged defensive performance laid the foundation for their victory.
It was a frenetic affair at times, with Lyon's Vincent Clement and Ricky Januarie and Jerome Fillol of Stade Francais all shown yellow cards, but the hosts had Romain Loursac primarily to thank, the fullback's accuracy with the boot proving pivotal as Lyon climbed off the bottom of the table and above Biarritz.
On Saturday, Toulon jumped above Perpignan in the table with a commanding 38-0 victory at Stade Felix Mayol.
Former Western Force winger David Smith crossed for the only try of the first-half, but four penalties from the boot of fullback Benjamin Lapeyre had Toulon in control at 17-0.
The second period produced more one-way traffic as Perpignan were overrun by the hosts. A penalty try rewarded their superiority before Fabien Cibray and former Sale prop Eifion Roberts crashed over to clinch a bonus point. England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson converted both scores after returning from Rugby World Cup duty.
Clermont Auvergne bounced back from their defeat to Toulouse two weeks ago to record a 29-13 victory over Agen at the Stade Marcel Michelin.
The hosts got off to the ideal start with winger Wesley Fofana touching down in the opening minute. Former France fly-half David Skrela kicked the conversion before landing a further two penalties in the opening ten minutes to build a strong lead for Clermont. Conrad Barnard and Silvere Tian landed penalty goals for Agen but a further Skrela penalty ensured Clermont went into the break 16-6 ahead.
Skrela continued to build Clermont's advantage with a penalty after the break as Tian saw yellow. When the Agen fullback returned to the field he brought renewed hope as he touched down with Maxime Machenaud converting. However Clermont snuffed out any revival with Jean-Marcel Buttin scoring a late try, which replacement Brock James converted, adding to an earlier penalty.
Biarritz's hopes of a sustained revival following their first win of the season against Bordeaux Begles came to a shuddering halt as they lost 32-7 away to Brive.
Brive scrum-half Mathieu Belie scored all the points in the first half as he kicked a 12th minute penalty before crossing in the for a try which he converted with a minute remaining of the first half. Brive fullback Julien Caminati then chipped in with a penalty after the break and then converted a penalty try as well as a score from lock Retief Uys.
With ten minutes remaining No.8 Antonie Claassen crossed for Brive's fourth try of the evening and it was only then, at 32-0 down, that Biarritz got on the scoreboard with fly-half Julien Peyrelongue converting his own try. The defeat was Biarritz's sixth of the season and leaves them second bottom.
Racing Metro slumped to a shock fourth defeat of the season as they lost 22-18 to Bordeaux Begles at Stade Chaban-Delmas. Racing Metro fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski kicked three first-half penalties to put the visitors ahead 9-0 but centre Julien Rey crossed in the 39th minute with former Northampton Saints fullback Bruce Reihana converting to take Bordeaux within two points at the break.
And from then on fly-half Gerard Fraser kicked three penalties before his replacement Camille Lopez landed a further two to overhaul their opponents, who could only manage two more penalties from the boot of Wisniewski.
Montpellier leapt above Bayonne in the table following a 26-17 victory at the Stade Jean Dauger. The two struggling sides were locked at 10-10 at half time after Geoffrey Doumayrou's converted try cancelled out Thibaut Visensang's earlier effort for Bayonne, with both Benjamin Boyet and Martin Bustos Moyana adding penalties to their successful conversion kicks.
However after the break the visitors took charge and No.8 Alex Tulou powered over in the 63rd minute. Bustos Moyana converted, then landed a penalty and Raphael Lagarde kicked a drop goal to take them clear of Bayonne, for whom Joe Pietersen scored a late and largely irrelevant try.
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