Top 14 - Round 3 Review
Stade back to winning ways
August 27, 2009
Racing Metro fly-half Andrew Mehrtens slots a penalty, Racing Metro v Bayonne, Top 14, Stade Yves du Manoir, August 29, 2009
Andrew Mehrtens was on target during Racing Metro's win over Bayonne © Getty Images

Stade Francais claimed their first victory of the season on Saturday afternoon, the Parisians beating Montpellier 43-26 in an entertaining fixture at the Stade Jean-Bouin.

The visitors, fresh from their shock win over defending Top 14 champions Perpignan, started confidently and moved 13-3 ahead on 20 minutes courtesy of a converted try from Jacques Boussuge. However, Stade replied in kind inside 60 seconds, with Mark Gasnier diving over. Lionel Beauxis converted and then Julien Dupuy stroked over a penalty just before the half-hour mark to ensure that the two sides went in level at 13 points apiece at the interval.

Montpellier stunned their hosts with two tries within four minutes of the restart, through Boussuge and Jacques Schutte, to pull ten points clear. But that merely sparked Stade into life and they were level within ten minutes, courtesy of a converted try from Mirco Bermagasco and a penalty from Noel Oelschig.

Beauxis then edged Stade in front with a three-pointer and Stade took over thereafter, running out comfortable winners after further tries from Pascap Pape and Gasnier, again, to put the seal on a morale-boosting win.

Bourgoin made light of their bleak financial situation to record a thrilling 22-17 victory over Biarritz, lifting themselves off the foot of the table in the process.

The cash-strapped hosts, shorn of the services of 14 players because of the economic crisis engulfing the club, enjoyed a confidence-boosting start, with David Janin touching down with just five minutes on the clock. Biarritz replied with a try of their own, through Julien Peyrelongue, but Benjamin Boyet kicked Bourgoin into a six-point lead at the interval.

Fly-half Boyet landed another penalty just before the hour and, at 16-7 ahead, Bourgoin were looking comfortable. However, Biarritz replacement Eduard Coetzee crashed over on 61 minutes for a converted try and then star centre Damien Traille edged the visitors in front with a drop goal.

Bourgoin's beleaguered players might ahve been forgiven for folding at that point but they fought back superbly, Boyet reclaiming the lead - and the initiative - for Bourgoin with a penalty. The Bourgoin No.10 then sealed Biarritz's fate with a late drop goal.

Racing Metro saw off the challenge of Bayonne at the Stade Yves du Manoir, Andrew Mehrtens and Fabien Fortassin contributing nine points apiece in an 18-9 victory.

Veteran All Black fly-half Mehrtens was on target with three penalties to draw his side level after Bayonne scrum-half Benat Arrayet scored three first-half kicks of his own. Bayonne lost centre Vincent Inigo to the sin-bin midway through the first-half, but his absence was punished only by a single penalty from the boot of Mehrtens.

Replacement Fortassin sealed the points in the final quarter, slotting a remarkable hat-trick of drop-goals to deny Bayonne back-to-back victories after their sensational win over Stade in San Sebastien last weekend. Racing Metro now have a healthy total after their return to the top flight, with only last weekend's loss to Toulon blotting their copybook so far.

Toulon had Jonny Wilkinson to thank for a 15-9 victory over Albi at the Stade Municipal, the England fly-half slotting five penalties to keep his new club's unbeaten start to the season alive.

After a draw with Stade and an opening win over Racing Metro last weekend, Philippe Saint-Andre's men leapfrogged in to third place on 10 points alongside Toulouse. Starting inside his former Newcastle team-mate Tom May and alongside Australian international scrum-half Matt Henjak, Wilkinson landed four penalties in the first half to put his side firmly in control.

In the second-half Albi fly-half Frederic Manca added a further penalty to his two first-half efforts, securing a bonus-point for his side despite the late sin-binning of No.8 Vincent Clement.

Montauban's clash with Castres was called off after an outbreak of swine flue within the visitors' camp. Six Castres players have been laid low by the virus and their midweek clash with Albi has also been postponed as a consequence.

Brive and Clermont Auvergne played out a ponderous 9-9 draw at the Stade Amedee Domenech on Friday night, a disappointing result for both sides.

With Brive having been humbled 38-0 by Toulouse last weekend, they would have wanted a big statement in front of their home fans, but it sadly failed to materialise.

Italian international Luciano Orquera, deputising for injured England fly-half Andy Goode and separating England scrum-half Shaun Perry from centres Riki Flutey and Jamie Noon, landed three first -half penalty goals for the home side.

Clermont, fresh from free-flowing victories in the opening two rounds, found little of their recent flair and were restricted to a single penalty from the always reliable Brock James in the opening exchanges.

James doubled his side's score after eight minutes of the second-half with another penalty and ten minutes later his third drew the sides level.


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