Toulouse maintain pace at top
February 10, 2012
Montpellier's Alex Tulou charges forward against Perpignan © Getty Images
Toulouse maintained control of the French Top 14 standings with a 20-15 victory over Biarritz at the Parc des Sports Aguilera on Friday night.
The visitors scored three tries in the opening 30 minutes with former Australia scrum-half scurrying over in the 14th minute and Fijian winger Timoci Matanavou touching down before fellow speedster Yves Donguy also crossed. Fly-half Luke McAlister landed just one of the three conversions but Toulouse still went into the break 17-6 up, with Benoit Baby kicking two penalties for the hosts.
McAlister and Baby exchanged penalties after the break and Biarritz threatened to cause an upset as Yannick Nyanga and Sylvain Nicolas both went to the sin bin for Toulouse. But the hosts could only muster another Baby penalty and drop goal from Damien Traille as Toulouse held on for the victory.
Giant prop Eifion Lewis Roberts scored twice for Toulon as they beat Bordeaux Begles 44-7 at the Stade Felix Mayol on Saturday. The 30-year-old, who announced this week that he would re-join former club Sale Sharks, touched down twice within three minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute. Luke Rooney, Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Joe van Niekerk also ran in tries for the hosts as they secured a bonus-point win.
Former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson landed all five conversions as well as three penalties for a personal haul of 19 points. Bordeaux's only points came from a Vunga Lilo try and Gerard Fraser conversion.
Former England winger Paul Sackey led a fierce Stade Francais comeback against Bayonne but ultimately the visitors lost 26-20 at Stade Jean Dauger. Sackey touched down in the 52nd and 57th minutes as Stade closed to 20-17 after trailing 20-3. But two late penalties from Cedric Garcia ensured Bayonne claimed the win, despite a late drop goal from Martin Rodriguez Gurruchage.
Bayonne had raced into a strong lead with tries from Abdellatif Boutaty and Lionel Mazars, with Garcia kicking both conversion as well as another penalty. Jacques-Louis Potgieter also landed a penalty for the hosts.
Clermont Auvergne kept up the pressure on Toulouse at the top of the table with a 31-13 victory over Racing Metro. Clermont ran in four tries with fullback Jean-Marcel Buttin, centre Seru Nakaitaci, winger Brent Russell and flanker Gerhard Vosloo all touching down.
Former France fly-half David Skrela kicked three conversions and a penalty while Brock James also landed a conversion. Springbok centre Francs Steyn scored Racing's only try with Juan Martin Hernandez converting and adding a penalty.
Montpellier kept pace with the leading four in the Top 14 table with a 22-11 victory over Perpignan on Friday. The hosts built up a 15-0 lead after just 20 minutes with tries from No.8 Alex Tulou and fullback Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino along with a penalty and a conversion from kicker Martin Bustos Moyano. Perpignan responded with a try from centre Rudi Coetzee and two penalties from fullback Jerome Poricaln to take them within four points just after the break.
However Montpellier scored the only points of the second half as openside flanker Mamuka Gorgodze barged over and Bustos Moyano landed the conversion to condemn Perpignan to an 11th defeat of the season.
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