Leaders Clerment romp past Stade Francais
Clerment Ferrand thumped Stade Francais 46-10 and scored six tries on the way as the Top 14 leaders enjoyed a rousing performance on Friday.
They now have 46 points from their 14 games ahead of La Rochelle on 41. The big game of the week sees Montpellier host mega-rich Toulon in Friday’s late game in an encounter rendered all the more important by each side’s European struggles. Clerment’s tries were scored by Adrien Plante on 22 and 32, Patricio Fernandez on 43, Noa Nakaitaci on 58, Damien Chouly on 73 and Sitaleki Timani two minute from time. “I’m happy to have done my bit,” Plante said after the game. “I’m getting back to my best form.” Clerment coach Franck AzÈma said his players had been very focussed. “I was also happy to see them enjoying themselves so much too,” he said.
There was also a big scoring comeback win for La Rochelle, who eventually overran bottom side Bayonne 42-17 after they had been led 17-0. The win makes La Rochelle, provisionally in second, a serious contender for the play-offs. Racing 92 also bounced back from their European disappointment with a 23-10 win over Castres, although a late try for Castres meant they missed a bonus point. Wenceslas Lauret had a hand in all three tries for Racing and the win, a first in four games, lifted them back to fourth place.
“It’s a relief, people were starting to worry about us and so was I,” said Racing backs coach Laurent Labit. Brive breezed past Lyon 22-6 leaving the losers hovering near the relegation zone in the early match.
Gaetan Germain took 17 points for Brive hitting the target six times out of six, while former French international Frederik Michalak opened the scores for Lyon, who have now lost three games in a row.
Thibaud Daubanga and Jale Vatuba grabbed second half tries as confident Pau beat Bordeaux 18-16 away. The home side got the first try of the game to give Bordeaux a 10-0 lead through Luke Braid but Raphael Ibanez’s men had a dreadful second-half. Grenoble climbed off the foot of the table on Thursday with a rousing 26-22 win over a Toulouse still getting over their European exertions. The win ignites vague hopes of escaping relegation for the Alpine hosts and leaves Toulouse rooted outside the end-ofseason play-off places. —AFP
CLERMONT-FERRAND: Stade Francais players join a scrum during the French Union Rugby match ASM Clermont vs Stade FranÁais at the Michelin stadium in Clermont-Ferrand, central France, on Friday.— AFP