Top 14 Orange - Round 11
Clermont stretch unbeaten run to 50
November 9, 2012
Aurelien Rougerie captained Clermont Auvergne to their 50th consecutive win at home © Getty Images
Clermont Auvergne stretched their unbeaten run to 50 matches at their Stade Marcel Michelin fortress with a 24-21 victory over Toulon.
Fly-half Brook James kicked a last minute penalty to wrap up the win against the league leaders after Jonny Wilkinson had kicked Toulon level with a drop goal with a minute to go. However, Matt Giteau was penalised afte the restart and James held his nerve from the kicking tee.
Clermont were in control early on after Napolioni Nalaga scored the opening try. Aurelien Rougerie set him free on the left wing, he passed back to his captain and when he was stopped short of the line the Fijian picked up the loose ball and dived over. Regan King added a second halfway through the second half, but Wilkinson's boot kept Toulon in touch and he scored all his team's points, but it wasn't enough to stop Clermont's run and put them two points behind the table toppers.
Olly Barkley scored his first try for Racing Metro, but it wasn't enough to stop the Parisians from losing at home to bottom-placed Mont de Marsan. The former Bath man started at fly-half and scored his try in the 25th minute after good work from Fijian wing Sereli Bobo. He converted and also added three penalties.
However, Simon Lucu pulled a try back to give Mont de Marsan renewed hope after half-time and fly-half Antoine Vignau-Tuquet hit a drop-goal with only three minutes remaining to wrap up a much-needed win.
Racing's Parisian rivals Stade Francais overcame the loss of a number of their players to international duty by beating Agen 20-13 thanks to a try from Julien Arias and five penalties from fullback Jerome Porical.
France scrum-half Dmitri Yachvili marked his return from injury by kicking five penalties in Biarritz's 15-3 win at home to Perpignan. There were also victories for Grenoble who edged out Bayonne 9-6 and Castres who won 13-16 away to Bordeaux-Begles.
On Friday Toulouse overcame Montpellier 27-9 at the Stade Ernest-Wallon. Despite both teams being devoid of the majority of their Test players, there was still international quality throughout both XVs. Veteran hooker William Servat lined up for Toulouse while Maxime Medard while Scotland's Johnnie Beattie linked up with former England international Shontayne Hape in the away team's side.
Toulouse's Luke McAlister and Montpellier's Martin Buston Moyano traded penalties to make the score 9-9 after 34 minutes but Medard struck just before the half-time whistle to give the home side the lead going into the break. And it was all Toulouse in the second 40 with McAlister knocking over two more penalties before Timoci Matanavou struck for their second score in the 73rd minute.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
Toulon's Heineken Cup final victory over Clermont Auvergne may have ended a long title drought for the Top 14 club but two of their players are no strangers to success
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage
"If you listen carefully you should be able to hear them mining the granite for the statue of a certain Jonny Wilkinson" Graham Jenkins reports from the Heineken Cup Final
Quade Cooper's defence is better than it was 12 months ago and Robbie Deans has erred in omitting him from the core Wallabies squad to play the Lions, Greg Growden writes