Montpellier’s gap at the top was significantly reduced in round five following a heavy defeat to Bordeaux. So the Top 14 Round Six fixtures offered an opportunity for their rivals to continue gaining ground.
With some great ties in prospect, here’s all you need to know from this weekend’s rugby:
Toulon 26-20 La Rochelle
Anthony Belleau’s kicking off the tee proved the deciding factor in Toulon’s victory. The home side raced to a 20-6 half time lead. A try from Hugo Bonneval and a penalty try put the hosts in control, as they dominated the first half.
However, a second half comeback looked to be on the cards for La Rochelle. A try apiece for Victor Vito and Brock James brought the scores to within touching distance. A late Belleau penalty following an earlier kick to goal, that were Toulon’s only second half points. But they were all they needed to secure the victory.
— blog-rct.com (@Blog_RCT) October 1, 2017
Oyonnax 9-39 Bordeaux
The home side only trailed 13-9 at the break after three Ben Botica penalties. An early penalty try and two Simon Hickey kicks off the tee edged Bordeaux into a slender lead. However just minutes into the second half, centre Maxime Veau was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle. It further highlighted the league’s disciplinary record.
Bordeaux took advantage of the numbers and with it, control of the game. Adrien Pelissie, Cyril Cazeaux, Leroy Houston and Jean-Pascal Barraque all dotted down in the second half. With that, the visitors secured the bonus point as Oyonnax continue to toil.
Toulouse 30-10 Agen
Both sides traded penalties early on before a Gael Fickou try opened up a healthy lead for Toulouse. The home side took a ten point lead into the break. Thomas Ramos continued his excellent form off the tee and further extended the lead midway through the second half.
Agen began to make their way back into the game. A late converted Kamaliele Tufele score gave the visitors some hope. However Cheslin Kolbe dashed any sign of an Agen losing bonus point. The South African touched down in the dying stages to round off a comprehensive victory.
Pau 23-25 Stade Francais
Stade had to come from behind to steal the victory against Pau. The home side led for the majority of the game. Despite a Marvin O’Connor score in the opening quarter for Stade, Tom Taylor kicked superbly for Pau. Three penalties before an intercepted Colin Slade try put Pau in control.
A try apiece for both sides early in the second half didn’t do too much to dent Pau’s lead. But a Morne Steyn penalty late on reduced the deficit to five points. A converted try would win it for Stade and that’s just what they did. A great O’Connor break was well supported by Sekou Macalou who dotted down to level the scores.
— Damian Rauz (@gugubabanz) October 1, 2017
Stade demonstrated today, how they are a strong side. They held their nerve to steal the victory from a strong Pau side.
Racing 17-20 Lyon
Lyon survived a second half comeback from Racing to secure a fourth win in five games. It was the visitors’ first win against Racing in Paris for twelve years. An early Teddy Ibraren penalty before a converted Wenceslas Lauret try opened up an early lead for the hosts.
But Lyon hit back themselves and the experience of Frederic Michalak began to shine through. Two kicks at goal as well as two conversions from Alexis Palisson and Toby Arnold tries put Lyon in a commanding position. Lyon held off a late Racing charge through a converted Juan Imhoff try for a famous victory. Momentarily, Lyon sat atop of the Top 14 prior to Montpellier’s clash with Brive.
Montpellier 54-10 Brive
Ahead of the weekend’s action, it was top against bottom with what looked to be a one-sided affair. That it was and Montpellier’s superb all round game put the disappointing loss to Bordeaux last week behind them. The home side’s relentless attack provided no let up for the Brive defence.
Nemani Nadolo, a standout performer, scored a superb hat-trick for his the league leaders, including an intercept try that capitalised on a Brive error. A Bismarck du Plessis double, Jesse Mogg, Fulgence Ouedraogo and a penalty try condemned Brive to their sixth consecutive loss of the season. A late Arnaud Mignardi try gave Brive a consolation, despite some sublime passages of play throughout.
Castres 29-23 Clermont
Castres inflicted a third loss of the season on the reigning champions. The hosts built up an early lead – two tries from Jody Jenneker and Ma’amu Vaipulu meant Clermont were playing catch up. Only three penalties from Greig Laidlaw were all the points the visitors could muster.
Clermont emerged from the break the brighter and reduced the arrears through Peter Betham. By the time Yohan Behergaray scored Clermont’s second in the dying stages, Castres’ Ben Urdapiletta’s three second half penalties were enough to seal the game. A losing bonus point for Clermont was at least a positive ahead of round seven.
The Top 14 ladder see’s several teams dropping places. La Rochelle switching places with Toulouse, as well as Bordeaux who take a step closer up to the leading sides.
— James Harrington (@Jamesonrugby) October 2, 2017
Games now are critical for establishing winning sequence. So if the top placed side can suffer defeat, then it will motivate others. It bolsters the competition, it encourages sides to aim higher in all of next weekends fixtures.
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