Top 14 - Round 8
Oyonnax shock French giants Toulon
September 29, 2013
Oyonnax celebrate their win over Toulon © Getty Images
Oyonnax produced the shock result of the Top 14 season so far beating Toulon 25-22 at their Charles-Mathon Stadium on Saturday.
The Top 14 newcomers have already overcome Clermont Auvergne, Castres and Biarritz this term and they have now beaten big spenders Toulon. And their hero was fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta who slotted an 80th minute drop-goal to win the match. The home side crossed after just three minutes with Florian Denos going over. But it was their kicking game which led them to victory with Urdapilleta knocking over 14 points while Valentin Ursache and Conrad Bernard both slotted three apiece. Toulon matched Oyonnax throughout with Delon Armitage scoring their solitary try with Jonny Wilkinson notching 18 points. The home side saw two players sin-binned in the final 50 minutes with Scott Newlands and Ursache both shown yellow but they held on for a memorable win.
On Friday, Stade Francais moved to the Top 14 summit with an 18-11 victory over Montpellier at the Stade Jean Bouin. The hosts dominated the opening period with prop Rabah Slimani grabbing the opening try of the game just short of the half hour mark. The conversion and two further penalties from scrum-half Julien Dupuy cemented their advantage with Montpellier's only reward an early penalty from in-form No.9 Jonathan Pelissie. Dupuy and Pelissie exchanged further penalties after the break before fly-half Jules Plisson crossed for Stade's second try. Montpellier grabbed a lifeline with a try from fly-half François Trinh-Duc midway through the half but it was as near as they got and therefore had to settle for a losing bonus point.
Clermont Auvergne bounced back from their mauling at the hands of Montpellier last time out with a 40-11 victory over Bordeaux-Begles at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Sunday. The game witnessed an incredible seven yellow cards - three of which came in the last 13 minutes and reduced the visitors to 12 men. Clermont led their rivals 16-9 at the break thanks to the kicking exploits of Brock James and a late try from Ti'i Paulo with Romain Lonca having given the visitors the lead midway through the first half. Two tries from Napolioni Nalaga extended their advantage after the break before one final flurry of yellow cards led to late scores for Sitiveni Sivivatu and Lee Byrne.
Toulouse remain fourth despite suffering a surprise 20-16 defeat to Perpignan at the Stade Aime Giral. An early try from Sofiane Guitoune put the Catalans on course for victory and three penalties from James Hook helped them to a 14-6 lead at half time. Hook gave the hosts a bit more breathing room after the break before Toulouse threatened a comeback with a try from Sébastien Bézy. The conversion and a further penalty from Luke McAlister brought the visitors to within a point only for Hook to land a long range drop goal and seal victory for Perpignan.
Racing Metro missed out on the chance to close on the leaders as they suffered a 19-15 defeat to Castres at the Stade Pierre-Antoine Stadium. A try from Marcel Garvey and eight points from the boot of Rory Kockott put Castres in charge at the break with Racing's challenge dented by a yellow card for Antoine Battut. However they continued to chip away at the hosts' lead Jonathan Sexton bring them back to within a point midway through the second half. A yellow card for Castres' Antonie Claassen appeared to give the visitors the edge but they held on with another sin-binning - this time for Racing's Bernard Le Roux - punished with one final Kockott penalty.
Elsewhere, Grenoble and Brive battled to a 12-12 draw at the Stade Pierre-Antoine Stadium. Grenoble fly-half Valentin Courrent slotted four penalties in an eventful first half that saw yellow cards for the home side's Vincent Campo and Dayna Edwards and Brive's Tamatu Leupolu and Karlen Asieshvili - and a red card for the visitors' Thomas Sanchou. Despite the drama, Brive's Gaetan Germain kept his side in touch with two first half penalties and added two more after the break with the equaliser coming seven minutes from time.
Biarritz suffered yet more woe - this time at the hands of Bayonne who recorded a 27-19 victory at the Stade Jean Dauger. A red card for Pelu Taele-Pavihi did little to boost Biarittz' cause and Bayonne capitalised with Marvin O'Connor crossing for a try and Martin Bustos Moyano slotting four penalties and a conversion before the break. Biarritz rallied with Johan Christiaan Pietersen slotting two penalties to add to his two first half efforts but a second Bayonne try from Mike Phillips restored their advantage. Pietersen converted his own try with five minutes remaining but it was not even enough for a bonus point.
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