Top 14 - Round 15 Review
Leaders Castres crash to Bourgoin
December 6, 2009
Racing Metro's Sebastian Chabal vies with Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson during their clash in Paris © Getty Images
Racing Metro 28 - 15 Toulon Albi 20 - 9 Biarritz Brive 27 - 21 Toulouse Perpignan 29 - 3 Montpellier Stade Français 34 - 10 Bayonne Bourgoin-Jallieu 16 - 9 Castres Montauban 20 - 15 Clermont Auvergne
League leaders Castres slipped to a 16-9 defeat against Bourgoin in the latest round of Top 14 action.
A drop goal from Benjamin Boyet opened the scoring, before South African centre Piet van Zhyl scored a seventh minuth try to get the show on the road and the hosts never lost that lead over the eighty minutes after Alberto di Bernardo converted. Romain Teulet brought the scores back to 10-6 with two penalties, but di Bernardo restored the seven point gap before the break. After half time things didn't get any better for Castres as Sebastien Laloo extended the lead before Teulet rescued a losing bonus point for his side with seven minutes on the clock.
On Sunday, Racing Metro notched their eighth straight league sucess with a 28-15 victory over Toulon to climb to third in the table. It was a mixed day for Racing's big-money signing Frans Steyn who was sent to the sin-bin in the first half but crossed for the only try of the game after the break to go with two penalties.
Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson kept his side in touch in a tit-for-tat exchange in the first half but fresh from edging the visitors ahead with his fourth penalty he saw his own team-mate Joe El Abd also sent to the sin-bin. The boot of Racing fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski brought his side level before the break before carrying them into the lead after the re-start with Steyn's try midway through the half proving decisive.
Stade Francais, meanwhile, enjoyed a big win over Bayonne in Paris as they secured the bonus point in a 34-10 win. Most of the damage was done in a rampant first half that saw Benjamin Kayser cross for an early try, before Julien Dupuy scored another. Lionel Beauxis converted both and when Pascal Pape scored a third first half effort, the French out-half did the honours once more.
The home faithful had to wait for the final try, which came courtesy of winger Mark Gasnier who secured the bonus point with five minutes remaining, cancelling out Sam Gerber's effort for the visitors.
Champions, Perpignan cruised to a 29-3 home win over struggling Montpellier with Jerome Porical kicking nineteen points. The fullback put his side 12-0 in front at the break, before Benjamin Thiery scored Montpellier's only penalty six minutes into the second half. Porical added another to restore the lead before England international Perry Freshwater scored a rare try. Porical converted, and substitute Yannick Parent crossed for a second try - again converted by Porical - to complete a solid day's work for the Catalans.
Five penalties from the boot of France scrum-half Morgan Parra were not enough to stop Clermont Auvergne slipping to a 20-15 away defeat to Montauban at the Stade de Sapiac on Friday night. The home side pulled ahead at the break thanks to a penalty from fly-half Leonard Olivier and a try from prolific Fijian winger Vilimoni Delasau.
The home side started brightly after the break and sealed the game with their second converted try, to centre Jean-Philippe Viard. The visitors scrapped and unloaded several players recently back from international duty off the bench, including Scotland flanker Jason White and Pumas hooker Mario Ledesma. Parra slotted two penalties with time running out to secure the losing bonus-point but the home side were out of striking distance thanks to Cedric Rosalen's late strike.
Elsewhere on Sunday, strugglers Albi heaped more woe on Biarritz with a 20-9 victory at the Stade Municipal.