Castres edge Bordeaux in French Top 14 thriller
Castres held on to beat BordeauxBegles 33-27 in a six-try thriller in the French Top 14 yesterday. But Bordeaux left without even a losing bonus point-awarded when teams lose by five points or lessafter former France fly-half Lionel Beauxis missed with a last minute penalty attempt.
The visitors had been on the ramage leading up to that attempt with New Zealander centre Jayden Spence missing out on a try when he spilled Beauxis’s upand-under in the Castres end zone.
It was a a nerve-wracking end to what was a great advert for French rugby, particularly the first half.
In a thrilling start to the match, Castres fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta kicked two penalties before the hosts were awarded a penalty try on 11 minutes after a deliberate knock-on from Fiji wing Metuisela Talebula prevented a certain try. Despite Talebula also coping a yellow card, Bordeaux struck back on 15 minutes when scrum-half Baptiste Serin sold a dummy to lumbering prop Daniel Kotze before scampering over.
Yet on 20 minutes Castres put together a fluid move that ended with Samoan wing David Smith passing inside for centre Thomas Combezou to score. Urdapilleta and Ireland fly-half Ian Madigan exchanged penalties before Bordeaux closed out the half with a try from full-back Jean-Marcellin Buttin down the right following quick hands in the backs. Madigan’s conversion left Castres leading 23-17 at the end of an exhilarating first half.
The second half didn’t live up to the first until replacement Castres scrum-half Antoine Dupont scored a carbon copy of Serin’s earlier try, sending no less than Talebula the wrong way with an outrageous dummy. Bordeaux wouldn’t lie down, though, and Spence finished off another blistering attack to dot down in the corner. He almost scored a try that would have given Beauxis the chance to kick a match-winning conversion but ultimately Bordeaux were left empty-handed. On Saturday, Three-time European champions Toulon gave new coach Mike Ford a winning Top 14 start with a commanding 42-12 victory over struggling Grenoble. Toulon ran in six tries for the winning bonus point with Mathieu Bastareaud, Mamuka Gorgodze, Jocelino Suta and Axel Muller all crossing. —AFP