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Top 14
Clermont score four against Stade Francais
ESPN Staff
March 1, 2013

Clermont Auvergne underlined their Top 14 title ambitions with an impressive 37-10 win over Stade Francais at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Vern Cotter's side started in rampant fashion and grabbed their first try after five minutes. Lee Byrne cut through the Parisian's defence and off-loaded to Regan King, who in turn found Aurelien Rougerie and the Clermont captain accelerated away to touch down. Morgan Parra converted and then slotted a penalty to put Clermont 10-0 ahead before the 10-minute mark. Jamie Cudmore grabbed a second in the 13th minute after Sitiveni Sivivatu had led a counter-attack and then Sivivatu captialised on further deft hands from King to take his side in 24-3 ahead at half-time. After the break Parra kept the scoreboard ticking over and while Martin Rodriguez Gurruchaga scored for the hosts late on, Napolioni Nalaga added a fourth try to ensure that his side would leave Paris with a try bonus-point.

Toulon remain top though after they beat reigning champions Toulouse 35-16 with Jonny Wilkinson weighing in with 25 points including seven penalties. Steffon Armitage grabbed Toulon's first try and wing Rudi Wolf capped the win with a late score. Timoci Matanavou had already crossed for Toulouse and while Lionel Beauxis landed the conversion and added two drop-goals before half-time to keep them into contention, yellow cards for Census Johnston and Yannick Nyanga in the second half handed the initiative back to Toulon.

Wales fly-half James Hook was in good form as he contributed 16 points to Perpignan's 31-17 win away to Mont-de-Marsan. He set the Catalan side on the way with an early penalty, then converted Sione Piukala's try. He failed to convert Romain Taofifenua's try, but scored another penalty before half-time. He scored a second and a third penalty soon after the restart and converted Sebastien Taofifenua's try before completing his night's work with a fourth penalty 12 minutes from time.

Racing Metro made light work of Grenoble with a 23-3 win. Argentine winger Juan Imhoff scored a brace of tries for the Parisians that Jonathan Wisniewski converted and the fly-half contributed a further nine points from converted penalties.

Castres kept up their pressure on the top places as they edged Montpellier 26-20. Both sides scored two tries apiece. Wing Yohann Artru and hooked Agustin Creevy went over early on to put Montpellier into the lead. Castres' hooker Brice Mach then scored just before half-time, Marc Andreu scored a second after the break and Rory Kockott's kicking made the difference as he landed four penalties.

Bordux-Begles kept up their impressive form with a 48-17 win at home to Agen, two weeks on from their win against Toulon. Hooker Ole Avei scored twice, while Bruce Reihana, Felix Le Bourhis, Julien Rey and Camille Lopez crossed for Bordeaux, while Ross Skeate and Jean Monribot scored Agen's tries.

On Friday night, Bayonne and Biarritz ended with honours even in the Basque derby after a 6-6 draw at the Stade Jean-Dauger on Friday. It was a typically tough, dogged derby and neither team was able to get on the score-sheet until just after the half-hour mark when Bayonne fly-half Jacques-Louis Potgeiter landed a penalty. Worse was to come for Biarritz a minute later when their No.8 and talisman Imanol Harinordoquy had to go off and then a further two minutes on when Potgeiter added a second penalty.

Biarritz scrum-half Dmitri Yachvili pulled a penalty back on the stroke of half-time but then sent a drop-goal wide early in the second half. Their prop Fabien Barcella was then sent to the sin-bin, but Bayonne were unable to take advantage of their greater numbers and by the time he returned his side were level after a second Yachvili penalty. Bayonne substitute Cedric Garcia missed a penalty with 10 minutes remaining before Biarritz's Benoit Baby missed from 50m on the stroke of full-time.

Pos Team P W D L F A PD TF TA TBP LBP Pts
1 Toulon 20 15 0 5 565 325 +240 45 19 8 3 71
2 Clermont Auvergne 20 15 0 5 516 309 +207 49 22 5 4 69
3 Toulouse 20 13 0 7 517 371 +146 46 25 5 3 60
4 Castres 20 12 1 7 453 354 +99 33 22 3 5 58
5 Montpellier 20 12 0 8 423 415 +8 39 27 4 2 54
6 Racing Metro 20 12 0 8 367 314 +53 21 21 1 5 54
7 Perpignan 20 11 0 9 464 444 +20 36 31 2 5 51
8 Grenoble 20 11 0 9 381 425 -44 27 40 1 2 47
9 Biarritz 20 9 1 10 345 380 -35 20 24 1 4 43
10 Stade Français 20 9 1 10 445 503 -58 28 39 1 2 41
11 Bayonne 20 7 1 12 292 439 -147 15 37 1 6 37
12 Bordeaux Begles 20 5 0 15 408 441 -33 33 29 2 8 30
13 Agen 20 5 0 15 309 507 -198 21 41 0 7 27
14 Mont-de-Marsan 20 2 0 18 277 535 -258 14 50 1 6 15

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