With Montpellier setting the pace early on and everyone else playing catch up, Toulon looked a likely test to ‘unsteady the ship’ in Top14 Round Four action.
Elsewhere, Clermont were out to avenge their huge defeat at La Rochelle last weekend. They faced Brive–who were still looking for their first win of the campaign.
Here’s all the action in our Top14 round four wrap:
Toulouse 53-17 Stade Francais
Stade’s poor start to the season continues after falling foul to a strong Toulouse side. Cheslin Kolbe opened the floodgates for Toulouse who never looked like faltering. Full back Thomas Ramos (see main picture) starred throughout, contributing twenty-eight points for his side’s efforts.
Ramos touched down twice, converting once as well as slotting over two penalties. Jules Plisson looked in good form with the boot for Stade and a consolation try in the second half for Terry Bouhraoua failed to compete with Toulouse’s dominance.
Further scores for Jarrod Poi, Gael Fickou, Maxime Medard as well as a superb solo effort from Antoine Dupont, who controlled the game excellently at scrum half. A bonus point for Toulouse sees them advance up to fifth and only two points off Racing in second. For Stade, only Brive sit below them in the table having picked up only one win in the opening four fixtures. A Toulon test awaits in round five.
Agen 15-20 La Rochelle
Agen’s win against Racing in round two seems a distant memory after two losses on the bounce. However, they made La Rochelle work for every point. La Rochelle full back Kini Murimurivalu tested the Agen defence on several occasions. He sliced through the defenders like butter, before offloading to Steeve Barry to dive over under the posts for the home side’s first try.
— Barry steeve (@Barry7s) September 16, 2017
Jake McIntyre slowly pulled Agen to within touching distance with the boot. But it was Murimurivalu who once again made the difference in La Rochelle’s second try. This time he was the supporting runner to score from a free flowing attack that effectively sealed the game’s fate.
La Rochelle will be disappointed to have given away a losing bonus point, especially in the manner of penalty kicks. But the win keeps La Rochelle in the mix in the top half of the table–and the big smile on Steeve’s face says it all. Félicitations!
Lyon 49-14 Bordeaux
Lyon put in a convincing display to brush aside Bordeaux and earn their third win of the season. Despite a penalty apiece in the early exchanges, Lyon began to pull away with a flurry of tries. Lionel Beauxis pulled the strings from fly half, contributing twenty-four points to his side’s victory. A try of his own and nineteen points from the tee made Bordeaux suffer in a game they failed to build any momentum.
There were positive passages for the away side but Lyon’s blitz defence quelled any attack. Tries from Toby Arnold, Carl Fearns, Beauxis, Alexis Palisson and Thibaut Regard earned the bonus point victory. The win moves Lyon into third while Bordeaux slip to ninth ahead of a home tie against leaders Montpellier.
Pau 28-13 Castres
A win for Pau keeps their unbeaten run at home in tact this season. Whereas Castres have failed to win on the road. But it was Castres who built a slender 13-6 lead following an Alex Tulou try. Some good work in the loose gave Tulou an easy run under the posts. Pau could only muster two penalty kicks going into the break.
But their fortunes changed in the second half. Watisoni Votu continued his excellent scoring form with two tries to take the lead for his side. Baptiste Pesenti scored a third resulting in twenty-two unanswered points for Pau that wrapped up victory. As such, it elevates Pau above Castres with just a point seperating the two teams.
Clermont 62-6 Brive
Clermont put last week’s huge defeat at La Rochelle behind them by inflicting a similar result on Brive. Clermont were merciless in their attack, scoring eight unanswered tries in a game dominated by the home side.
Winger Alivereti Raka was outstanding in attack, and touched down three times for Clermont in just seven minutes. Raka’s second – which was Clermont’s fifth already – was a score of individual brilliance. The winger attacked from his own half, dancing round five Brive defenders to put his side in total command [see below highlights package].
Revivez les 8 essais clermontois lors du derby du Massif Central avec le résumé vidéo : https://t.co/uTfl0REebV
— ASM Rugby (@ASMOfficiel) September 18, 2017
A double from Damian Penaud as well as tries from Pato Fernandez, David Strettle and Camille Gerondeau topped off a fine win for the reigning champions, as they put eight tries past Brive. This huge bonus-point win now moves Clermont away from the foot of the table, before the visit of Racing in round five.
On the other side, Brive’s woes continue and their search goes on for their first win of the campaign.
Racing 92 25-13 Oyonnax
Racing ran out victors over Oyonnax, but will disappointed not to have picked up a bonus point. The home side raced to a 10-0 lead after an early Dan Carter penalty and a converted Leone Nakarawa try. The visitors could only secure a penalty kick in the first half. But Racing went on to score two further tries in Virimi Vakatawa and Marc Andreu before the break.
Oyonnax came out firing in the second half and reduced the arrears. A Ben Botica penalty before a superb Quentin Lecoq Etienne try saw momentum swing in the away side’s favour. Maxime Machenaud’s penalty kick late on were the only points Racing could score in the second half. With the missed opportunity of securing the bonus point, Racing still still sit in second place behind leaders Montpellier.
Montpellier 43-20 Toulon
Montpellier’s brilliant start to the season continues, securing their fourth consecutive win. Despite going behind early on to a Josua Tuisova try, Montpellier looked in firm control of the tie. Former All Black Aaron Cruden opened his try scoring account for his new club. The fly-half took advantage of the free-flowing game collecting an offload that gave him an easy run to the line. Once the home team got their noses in front, they didn’t look back. Nemani Nadolo further extended the lead before the break with a strong pick-and-go under the posts.
The second half continued as the first finished – Paul Willemse, Joe Tomane, Francois Steyn and a penalty try secured the bonus point. Toulon’s Chris Ashton was his side’s only try scorer in the second half. It now takes his tally to four tries in four games and joint top try scorer in the Top 14. Montpellier now move five points ahead of Racing in second place.
— TOP 14 Rugby (@top14rugby) September 17, 2017
After this weekend’s Top14 Round Four action, five teams have jumped ahead on the table. Clermont and Toulon still mid-table, and will want to continue their form heading into next weeks fixtures.
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