French Top 14 - Round 10 Review
Late David score seals Toulouse win
October 22, 2009
Dimitri Yachvili is taken out by Cencus Johnston © Getty Images
Toulouse comprehensively beat Biarritz 23-3 at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Saturday to bring to an end a run of seven unbeaten matches for the Basque side.
Dominant at the breakdown and without being ever really stretched, they easily contained Biarritz who couldn't capitalise on their opponents having a man in the sin-bin for 10 minutes after prop Cencus Johnston was ordered to cool off after taking out Dimitri Yachvili in the air.
Tries from Vincent Clerc and Florian Fritz, both just before the end of each half ensured the win while Frederic Michalak kicked a conversion, two penalties and a drop-goal in a comfortable win for Toulouse.
Yachvili kicked Biarittz's only points of the game while there were workman-like performances by No.8 Imanol Harinorduquy and Yachvili behind the scrum.
Racing Metro travelled to struggling Brive and inflicted a 10-18 loss on them thanks to the accurate boot of fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski. He kicked six penalties for Pierre Berbizier's men and took his chance well in the absence of Andrew Mehrtens and Francois Steyn.
Brive made the early running in this one and were 10-3 up within 10 minutes before Metro turned the screw to secure an impressive win. Brive didn't do their cause any favours as they were shown two yellow cards, the first to scrumhalf Jean-Baptiste Pejoine early in the first-half and the second to lock Chrisatian Short in the 67th minute.
Montpellier out-fought Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir to win a close match 16-9 .
Federico Todeschini, starting at fullback, was the match-winner for the hosts as he converted centre Grant Rees' seventh minute try and then kicked a further three penalties to thwart their more illustrious visitors.
For Clermont, their sharp-shooter Brock James kicked three penalties but will be disappointed at missing out on the chance to go to the summit of the Top 14.
Toulon skipper Joe van Niekerk inspired his side's 46-28 victory over Bourgoin at the Stade Felix Mayol. The former Springbok chipped in with two of his side's tries in a bonus-point win that keeps Toulon in the hunt for a semi-final spot. He was ably assisted by the in-form Jonny Wilkinson, who chipped in with a 21-point haul thanks to a second-half try, five conversions and two penalties.
Van Niekerk's first score was cancelled out by an effort from Bourgoin's lock Coenie Basson, but scrum-half Pierre Mignoni wasted no time in extending the home-side's lead four minutes later. Former Bristol flanker Joe El Abd crashed over just after the break to keep the pressure on Bayonne, who responded well with their second try, to Sylvain Nicolas, who atoned for his first-half sin-binning.
Wilkinson's late score made the game safe and while a last-gasp penalty try to Bayonne threatened a frantic finish, Toulon wing Christian Loamanu had the final say with a try on the whistle.
Meanwhile, a try to flanker Antoine Battut gave Montauban a 20-6 victory over Albi, who are being increasingly cut adrift at the bottom of the table. Cedric Rosalen chipped in with the home side's remaining points from the kicking tee at the Stade de Sapiac.
On Friday, Castres claimed a foothold at the summit of the Top 14 table on Friday night with a hard-fought 15-6 victory over Bayonne at the Stade Jean Dauger.
Having kick-started their European Challenge Cup campaign with a thumping 76-11 win over Rovigo, Castres failed to rediscover their try-scoring touch against sterner opposition.
All of the away side's points came from the boot of former Junior All Blacks fly-half Cameron McIntyre, who traded kicks with Bayonne's halfbacks Benat Arrayet and Craig Gower in the first-half. With the score at 6-6 at the break, Castres were made to sweat for their win as McIntyre held his nerve to extend the lead.
The home side incurred the wrath of the 12,000 fans who had braved the rain with some error-riddled play and were denied a bonus-point when replacement Manny Edmonds skewed a late penalty.