Top 14 Round Six Review
Toulon romp to a 61-3 victory over Oxonnax
Bordeaux pulls off shock of the round, beating title-hopefuls Toulouse 12-10 in a hard-fought clash
Stade Francais’ tough start to their title defence continued with a 27-18 defeat at Racing
Gaëtan Germain stole the Top 14 show this weekend, kicking all of Brive’s points in a tough 18-13 win at Pau.
The hosts boasted a 100 per cent home record prior to Saturday’s clash Hameau Stadium, but full-back Germain put paid to that stoic record with six penalty goals.
The 25-year-old notched a sole three-pointer in the first half as Pau took a 10-3 lead into the break after Samuel Marques’ try and two further goals from the Portuguese scrum-half, but four penalties inside 14 second-half minutes from Germain put the visitors ahead before two more in the final stages of the game, meaning Brandon Fajardo’s late goal was a mere consolation.
Elsewhere, it was an equally impressive afternoon for the boot of Jonathan Pélissié as the Frenchman kicked 17 points in Toulon’s romping 61-3 victory over Oyonnax.
Oxonnax took an early lead with Welsh fly-half, Nicky Robinson, notching an early goal, but his French adversary in the halves was soon pulling the strings as the hosts hit back in style; Mathieu Bastareaud, Juan Smith and Josua Tuisova all running in first half tries, Pélissié adding three conversions alongside a trio of penalty goals.
A comfortable second half followed as Romain Taofifénua, Steffon Armitage, and Maxime Mermoz all got in on the tryscoring act, before a late double from 39-year-old winger Sireli Bobo completed the rout.
In the weekend’s Marquee Game, Clermont travelled to Montpellier as the top two faced off, and it was Montpellier who came out on top, winning 24-19.
The hosts were in defiant form in defence and held a 21-12 interval lead after Timoci Nagusa and Robins Tchalé-Watchou got over for first-half tries, Benoît Paillaugue hitting a conversion and a penalty goal alongside a single penalty from Demetri Catrakilis, Camille Lopez kicking all the tryless visitors’ points.
An attritional second period followed with Paillaugue’s penalty the only register on the scoreboard from the last 40. That was until Alivereti Raka’s converted try on the hooter, Brock James with the two, but it wasn’t enough as Clermont leapfrogged their opponents into top spot.
It was Bordeaux who pulled off the shock of the round, beating title hopefuls Toulouse 12-10 in a hard-fought clash at the Andre Moga Stadium.
Without a number of World Cup stars, Saturday’s hosts have been below par this season, but they produced arguably their best performance of the season this weekend to leave Toulouse four points adrift of top spot.
Baptiste Serin kicked all of the home side’s points with three first-half penalties and another early in the second. Despite Vincent Clerc’s 20th-minute score for the visitors, which Jean-Marc Doussain converted, a second-half shutout, only blemished by a Doussain penalty in the final quarter, laid the platform for a potentially season-changing win.
Saturday’s other game saw a mid-table battle between Castres and Grenoble and visiting Grenoble were triumphant, winning 31-23 at the Pierre Antoine Stadium to move above their opponents into eighth on the Top 14 ladder.
An explosive start saw Peter Kimlin and Chris Farrell go over, Jonathan Wisniewski converting once for a two-score advantage after ten minutes. But the chastened hosts hit back as Remy Grosso notched a double either side of a try for Xavier Mignot to make the score 13-25 at half time with Wisniewski adding two further penalty goals in response to a single effort from Rory Kockott.
Though no further tries came the way of the visitors in the second half, their exploits in the first 40 proved to be enough, a third penalty from Wisniewski and another from James Hart seeing them over the line as Geoffrey Palis’ converted effort and a penalty goal through Kockott wasn’t enough for the hosts to recover.
On Sunday, the day’s only fixture brought relegation-battling La Rochelle and Agen together, and it was La Rochelle who romped to a 23-6 victory on home turf.
A low-scoring first half brought a solitary try, Levani Botia going over on the stroke of half-time. Zack Holmes converted on top of two earlier penalties from the Australian, Bautista Guemes hitting a penalty goal in reply.
Burton Francis made it 13-6 on 56 minutes, but Benjamin Lapeyre struck back within seconds to pull his side further ahead once more before Alex Northam rounded off an enjoyable afternoon for the now tenth-placed side.
Finally, on Friday night, Stade Francais’ tough start to their title defence continued with a 27-18 defeat at Racing.
Camille Chat set the tone with a try in minute one, Maxime Machenaud converting. He and Johan Goosen added first-half penalties with Sékou Macalou getting the visitors’ try on eight minutes, Jules Plisson scoring two goals.
With three points the difference at half time, the game hung in the balance, but Goosen kicked two penalties either side of one for Plisson to stretch the home side’s lead to six points, but a Marc Andreu try on 67 minutes finally broke the third-placed hosts clear and meant youngster Clément Daguin’s try on the hooter brought little joy to the visiting fans.