Toulouse march on at the top
December 20, 2008
Florian Fritz dives in to score one of Toulouse's four tries © Getty Images
Toulouse sit top of the pile as the French Top 14 reaches the half-way point. Tries from Maxime Medard, Yannick Jauzion, Florian Fritz and Clemet Poitrenaud saw the giants cruise pas Mont de Marsan 27-6. Jauzion set them on their way, while the recently returned Frederic Michalak added two conversions and a penalty to his side's total.
Stade Francais stayed in touch in second-place with a bonus-point win over Bayonne. The Parisian team bounced back from two disappointing Heineken Cup losses to Harlequins with a commanding home performance. Mirco Bergamasco, Pierre Rabadan, Dimitri Szarzewski and Geoffroy Messina all crossed for tries to help rebuild confidence in the capital.
Dan Carter had an errant afternoon with the boot as Perpignan came from behind to beat Castres. The All Blacks fly-half missed four straight penalties on his Top 14 debut, with Jerome Porical taking over kicking duties on 65 minutes. It was Porical who saw Perpignan home, converting his own try and slotting a penalty to make safe the points.
England international Andy Goode kicked five penalties as Brive secured a 20-12 home win over Bourgoin. Brive fullback Alexis Palisson crossed for the only try of the game on 16 minutes, with Goode's accurate kicking enough to snare the points.
Tana Umaga's struggling Toulon slipped ever closer to the relegation zone after being humiliated 33-8 by Montpellier. Georgian lock Mamuka Gorgodze crossed for two tries before Montpellier twere awarded a penalty try by the referee. The game was sewn up by wing Thierry Brana just after the hour, with former All Black Jerry Collins' 77th minute try nothing more than a consolation.
Biarritz's wretched season continued with a 19-12 loss away to Montauban. After slipping to back-to-back Heineken Cup defeats to Cardiff Blues in recent weeks, Biarritz were undone by an early try from Montauban openside Ibrahim Diarra and 14 points from fly-half Cedric Rosalen.
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