Top 14 - Newspaper Review
Strong weekend boosts Paris clubs
November 2, 2009
Vern Cotter pulled no punches in his assessment of his Clermont side © Getty Images
Last weekend's Top 14 action was very much a tale of the two Parisien clubs, with Racing Metro winning 27-20 at home to Toulouse and Stade Francais gaining an all-important 19-19 draw away to Clermont Auvergne.
A last-gasp penalty by Brock James saved the blushes of Clermont coach Vern Cotter, who attempted to look for positives in what was nevertheless a poor result for Les Auvergnats.
"It's a big disappointment," said Cotter, speaking to Midi Olympique. "A drawn match at home is never good news, especially having had a ten point lead at the break. But after the mediocre performance last weekend (losing 16-9 to Montpellier) it was better."
For veteran France and Stade Francais prop Sylvain Marconnet, the result was further confirmation of his side's return to form after a disastrous start to the season.
"We're a competitive team again," said Marconnet. "We arrived here with doubts and we've left satisfied."
Having been largely overshadowed by their more extravagant neighbours for the last couple of decades, Racing Metro reaffirmed their credentials as a club on their way back to the top with a well-earned victory over Toulouse on Saturday.
"It was a continuation of our performance against Brive last week (18-10 win) but not in the same context," said Mannix, in an interview with La Depeche du Midi. "We played at home in front of 14,000 for the first time this season. That was fantastic.
"We're very happy with the application of the players on the pitch. This victory is for everyone. It's merited for all the work done off the ball and the defensive performance, which was the key."
Meanwhile, Castres fly-half Romain Teulet insisted that his side would learn from their 17-15 defeat at Stade Aime Giral on Friday night. The surprise package of this year's Top 14 led 12-0 thanks to four Teulet penalties before the French champions hit back.
Teulet said: "You can never be content with a defeat but we now know the difference between this type of team and teams that aren't as strong."