Top 14 Orange - Round 25
English duo dispatch Toulouse
May 5, 2012
Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage lose control of the ball against Toulouse © Getty Images
Toulon confirmed their place in the Top 14 play-offs with a 25-22 victory over reigning champions and current league leaders Toulouse at the Stade Felix-Mayol on Saturday.
Toulon were trailing 19-18 with 15 minutes remaining but former London Irish flanker Steffon Armitage, who is pushing for a place on England's summer tour to South Africa, barged over and Jonny Wilkinson converted to seal the victory. Wilkinson had earlier kicked two penalties and converted Eifion Roberts' try while Alexis Palisson also touched down. Lionel Beauxis landed five penalties for Toulouse, who are already assured of a semi-final place, and also converted a Vincent Clerc try.
The victory took Toulon up to third in the table, ahead of Montpellier who booked their play-off spot thanks to a 21-16 win over Biarritz on Friday night. Fullback Lucas Amorosino got the scoreboard ticking over after just one minute with Geoffrey Doumayro scoring their other try in the second-half. Biarritz, in return, managed just one try through USA Eagles flyer Taku Ngwenya but it was Martin Bustos Moyano's boot that proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Castres are also play-off bound after beating second-placed Clermont Auvergne 30-19. Both teams ran in three tries with Max Evans, Ibrahim Diarra and Romain Martial touching down for Castres and Loic Jacquet, Kini Murimurivalu and Sitiveni Sivivatu scoring for the visitors. However, Castres fullback Romain Teulet kicked three conversions and a penalty to give his side the edge and become the first player in world rugby to score more than 3000 points for one club.
Stade Francais' hopes of reaching the end of season showdown suffered a major setback with a 19-13 defeat to Racing Metro. The victory, powered by the boot of fullback Jonathan Wisniewski, gives Racing a valuable five-point advantage over their Paris rivals with just one round of the regular season remaining.
Perpignan ensured their survival by heaping woe on already-relegated Lyon at the Stade Aime Giral. The Catalans registered a 34-22 victory despite losing hooker Guilhem Guirado to a red card following a tip tackle. Welsh international James Hook kicked 19 points for the hosts while Adrien Plante, David Marty and Damien Chouly all crossed for tries.
Bordeaux confirmed their Top 14 status for next season with a 23-9 victory over Brive, who were shunted a step closer to relegation. Brive are now five points adrift of third-from-bottom Bayonne with one game remaining - away to Clermont Auvergne - and must win with a bonus point and hope their rivals lose at Castres without securing a bonus point.
Elsewhere, Bayonne recorded a 31-10 victory over fellow strugglers Agen at the Stade Jean Dauger. The hosts ran in tries through Sam Gerber, David Roumieu and Abdellatif Boutaty as well as picking up a penalty try with fly-half Jacques-Louis Potgieter converting all four scores and landing a further penalty. Agen, who were hampered by the departures of Lisiate Fa'aoso and Semisi Telefoni to the sin bin, scored a solitary try through Brice Dulin, which was converted by Conrad Barnard who also kicked a penalty.
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