Top 14 - Round 9
Toulouse beat leaders Racing Metro
October 2, 2010
Toulon's Felipe Contepomi stretches the Castres defence at Stade Felix Mayol © Getty Images
Toulouse survived a second-half fightback from Racing Metro to claim a 28-23 victory at the Stade Ernest Wallon to keep pace with the leading pack - but it was not enough to overhaul Metro at the top of the table.
Toulouse galloped into a 22-6 lead by the 47th minute thanks largely to kicking accuracy of fly-half David Skrela. He contributed three penalties, a drop-goal and converted scrum-half Byron Kelleher's try as Toulouse took control of the match. Fullback Clement Poitrenaud also grabbed a drop-goal early on.
But Racing Metro, who stayed in touch during the first half with penalties from Jonathan Wisniewski, scored a try through Albert Vulivuli early in the second half, which sparked hopes of a comeback.
Wisniewski added a penalty before three successful kicks from Frans Steyn clawed Racing Metro to within touching distance. But Skrela's composure from the tee paid off for the hosts as his two penalties in the second half helped Toulouse hold on for the win as they went to within a point of Racing Metro at the top.
Stade Francais injected some life into their Top 14 campaign with a 30-13 victory over Montpellier in Paris on Saturday. Stade ripped through their opponents in the first half to develop a 27-3 lead by the break. Fly-half Lionel Beauxis struck two penalties and converted tries from wing Quentin Valancon, prop Rayno Gerber and Scottish international Hugo Southwell as Stade built a healthy advantage.
The second half was a more subdued affair with Stade failing to breach their opponent's line. A solitary Beauxis penalty was their only response to Mamuka Gorgodze's consolation try for the visitors.
Dimitri Yachvili scored all Biarritz's points as they came from behind to beat Bayonne 22-19 at the Stade Jean Dauger on Saturday evening. Bayonne established a 13-6 half-time advantage. Left-wing Sam Gerber touched down in the 27th minute with fly-half Benjamin Boyet contributing two penalties as well as the conversion. Biarritz were once again left to rely on the kicking of scrum-half Yachvili, who converted penalties at either end of the opening half.
But the game turned when Yachvili scored a try for Biarritz in the opening minutes of the second half, which he scrum-half converted. Boyet slotted successive penalties for Bayonne, but Yachvili calmly levelled the scores at 19-19 before converting the decisive kick in the 75th minute.
Clermont Auvergne hammered Agen 45-19 at the Stade Marcel Michelin. Clermont conceded an early try to Kevin Swiryn, which was converted by Valentin Courrent to give the visitors a 7-0 lead. But the hosts responded through tries from Aurelien Rougerie, Marius Joubert and Julien Bonnaire to give them a 19-13 half-time advantage.
And two swift tries from Julien Malzieu in six minutes broke Agen's resistance. Courrent's boot was the only source of points for Agen in the second period while Morgan Parra - who contributed six points in a mixed kicking display - and Napolioni Nalaga also crossed for Clermont to give the score line a one-sided complexion. Fly-half Brock James also added tow conversions for Clermont.
Meanwhile Perpignan edged out La Rochelle 21-16 at the Stade Aime Giral. Perpignan almost threw away a 21-3 lead as La Rochelle rallied in the latter stages. Replacement Thomas Soucaze's try, along with a conversion and two penalties from fullback Benjamin Dambielle, ensured a tense finale. But the hosts held on thanks to the 18-point cushion they had built mainly during a one-sided first half.
Tries from Gerrie Britz, Joffrey Michel and Adrien Plante and the accurate kicking of fullback Jerome Porical ensured enough breathing space for Perpignan to survive despite a lacklustre second half display.
Strugglers Bourgoin grabbed their second win of the season with an 18-3 victory over Brive at the Stade Pierre Rajon. Coenie Basson's 68th-minute try, converted by Sebastien Laloo, gave Bourgoin an 10-3 advantage with 12 minutes remaining and replacement Sylvian Charlet scored just after coming on to seal the victory. Scrum-half Mathieu Belie's early penalty was the only ray of hope for Brive, who did not score a point after the 16th minute.
Jonny Wilkinson delivered his latest kicking masterclass to steer Toulon to a 22-15 victory over Castres in their clash at the Stade Felix Mayol on Friday night. The England No.10 kicked four penalties, a drop goal and a conversion on his way 17-point tally that propelled Toulon to their sixth win of the season that lifted them level on points with pace-setters Montpellier and Racing Metro. The kicking exploits of Castres fullback Romain Teulet and centre Seremaia Bai kept the visitors in touch but they were unable to prevent their side from slipping to back-to-back defeats.
A first half kicking duel between Wilkinson and Teulet saw the hosts build a 12-6 lead before a yellow card for Castres flanker Steve Malonga swung the game in Toulon's favour. The pressure told before the break with a penalty try - converted by Wilkinson - cementing the home side's advantage. Castres rallied immediately after the re-start with a penalty from Bai but his score was soon cancelled out by Wilkinson. Teulet continued to chip away at Toulon's lead but in the end they had to settle for a losing bonus point. The in-form Wilkinson's latest haul took his season tally to a league-leading 135 points in just eight starts.
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