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Top 14: Stade Toulousain down champions Perpignan, but Castres win again to stay top

30 December 2009



Stade Francais






Clermont Auvergne






Racing-Métro 92




SCA Albi






Stade Toulousain




Stade Toulousain ended 2009 on a high note with a 22-11 home victory against defending champions Perpignan.

Full-back Clement Poitrenaud scored the game's decisive try, intercepting a Perpignan pass eight minutes from time to run in under the posts and seal the win. Until then it had been nip and tuck, with Stade just shading it thanks to the combined boots of David Skrela and Frédéric Michalak.

Skrela opened the evening's scoring with a 40m drop-goal after eight minutes, and Stade were soon 6-0 up when Michalak followed up with a similar range penalty shortly after. But Perpignan refused to cave in and enjoyed a period of sustained pressure before Gerrie Britz went over in the 18th minute for the game's opening try.

Jérôme Porical, however, missed the conversion, enabling Michalak to send the hosts into a 9-5 half-time lead after landing his second successful penalty 10 minutes before the interval. Porical was on target with his own attempt soon after the restart to cut the deficit back to one point and the kicking pair traded a further penalty each before Poitrenaud's clinical interception as time ran down.

Michalak added the extras and then looked on as Skrela landed another drop-goal to complete the victory, and - just as importantly - deny the Catalans any chance of a defensive bonus.

Top 14 Table  / Top 14 try-scorers / Top 14 Results / Top 14 Fixtures

Elsewhere, leaders Castres continued their superb season with a convincing 30-7 home win against Montauban to ensure they stayed top of the pile going into 2010.

Three second-half tries eventually eased them home after Shannon Paku's ninth-minute effort had given the visitors a surprise early lead. A trio of Romain Teulet penalties put the leaders back in front by the interval, before Chris Masoe, Josefa Tekori and Yoann Audrin all crossed for the hosts in the second period.

The victory will give coaches Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers added delight as it was achieved against their former team, but their successor Marc Raynaud must now try and pick up his side after slipping down to 11th in the league after their fourth defeat in five.

Clermont Auvergne ran in seven tries as they clocked up more than half a century of points in thrashing derby rivals Brive 52-10. The only consolation on a sorry night for the visitors was that at least Luciano Orquera's late try saw them register a marginal improvement on last season's 52-7 defeat, but that won't make the journey home any easier.

Vern Cotter's team played with verve and precision throughout as they built on their impressive recent showings against Leicester Tigers, and moved up to joint second courtesy of their bonus-point win at the Stade Marcel Michelin.

South African winger Brent Russell got the ball rolling with his 10th-minute try, before fellow wide man Julien Malzieu celebrated his newly signed two-year contract extension by touching down on 23 minutes.

Scrum-half Kevin Senio and Wesley Fofana both got in on the act before half-time, while the impeccable Brock James kicked all four conversions. Brive's sole response was an Orquera penalty, but it was obvious the visitors were keeping their powder dry for Sunday's home game against Perpignan.

The one-way traffic continued after the interval with Mauro Ledesma, Lionel Faure and Gavin Williams adding further tries for 'Les Jaunards' as Cotter celebrated an emphatic win in his 100th match in charge.

James maintained his superb kicking by landing all seven conversions, and also snuck over a 58th-minute drop-goal for good measure.

In-form Racing-Métro 92 made it nine successive league wins as they continued Bayonne's miserable season with a 23-19 win down on the Basque coast.

Fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski experienced mixed fortunes for the visitors as he landed four successful penalties - including his last in the final minute - but was also unfortunate to be yellow-carded in the second half for an obstruction that was blatantly performed by skipper Lionel Nallet, not the Racing No 10. But it all ended well for Wisniewski and his colleagues as they held out for the win which lifts them level on 57 points with second-placed Clermont.

Bayonne's Cédric Garcia kept the home side in the match throughout with four penalties of his own, but the home side were always playing catch up after Jone Qovu's 29th-minute try for Racing. Number eight Sébastien Chabal was again influential throughout and played a decisive hand in Qovu's score as the visitors edged into an 11-9 interval lead.

Wisniewski and Garcia traded a penalty each after the restart before Fabien Fortassin stepped into the Racing breach following the erroneous yellow card. Fortassin's 51st-minute drop-goal was his seventh of the season, and he followed up with a penalty five minutes later as the Parisians moved 20-12 ahead.

Bayonne's hopes looked to fade further when Julien Puricelli was yellow carded shortly before the hour mark, but winger Jean-Baptiste Peyras touched down minutes later despite the numerical disadvantage to set up a tense finale.

But Racing held on to continue their remarkable run of wins, while Bayonne's latest defeat means they have now registered just one victory in their last eight league games as they remain in deep in the relegation mire in 13th position.


Toulon made it five league wins from seven as they dispatched basement club SCA Albi 41-13 to consolidate their own top six standing.

Philippe Saint-André's side scored four tries as they maintained their upward mobility, but still missed out on a bonus point as the visitors managed two of their own, including Benjamin Lapeyre's seventh-minute effort to open the game's scoring.

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson then landed five penalties in 18 minutes as Albi's ill-discipline cost them dear, before winger Christian Loamanu powered over for the hosts just before the interval. That gave Toulon a 22-8 lead, and they were soon further ahead after Argentine player of the year Juan Manuel Fernandez Lobbe crossed in the 47th minute.

Wilkinson duly converted both tries, and was on target again eight minutes from time when prop Saimone Taumoepeau grabbed Toulon's third score of the evening. The England golden boy then waltzed off for a deserved rest after landing all eight of his attempted kicks to end with a personal match haul of 21 points. There was still time for Fotu Auelua to cross in the final minute - with Felipe Contepomi slotting the conversion this time, but it still wasn't enough to earn the attacking bonus thanks to a 63rd-minute try from Albi's American sub Matekitonga Moeakiola. The away side didn't help themselves by having two players sin-binned - Frederic Manca and Thomas Vervoort - although Toulon weren't entirely blameless in that department with Gabriele Lovobalavu also seeing yellow. 

Stade Francais will be kicking themselves after letting slip a 23-9 advantage away to Montpellier, eventually going down 25-23 after Federico Todeschini's 77th-minute penalty for the home side.

Argentine full-back Todeschini landed six penalties in all, as well converting Juan Caudullo's 63rd-minute try, as Montpellier registered a crucial home win to keep them clear of the drop zone. It was just the tonic after two successive league defeats, but looked an unlikely outcome after Stade centre Geoffroy Messina touched down twice in seven minutes early in the second half.

Lionel Beauxis converted both tries, adding to a brace of earlier penalties and a drop-goal, and Stade looked odds on to register their maiden away win in Top 14 this season as they opened up a 14-point advantage with just 24 minutes to go.

But Todeschini's boot kept Montpellier in the match, setting up the dramatic finale as the hosts completed a worthy fightback at the Stade Yves du Manoir.

Biarritz registered their first home league win since October 3rd as they beat Bourgoin 23-6 to maintain their own play-off hopes, closing the gap on Stade to two points in the process.

Two kicks apiece from Dimitri Yachvili and Benoit Baby had the sides level pegging at 6-6 approaching half-time, but Ian Taele-Pavihi then scored the game's opening try to ease the hosts 13-6 ahead at the break.

Fly-half Valentin Courrent extended that further with a 50th-minute penalty before touching down himself in the game's closing stages to seal the victory.

Bourgoin remain just above the drop zone after their fourth defeat in five league games, with their only victory in that period a 16-9 home triumph over leaders Castres.


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