French Top 14
Perpignan move up after Stade Francais defeat
March 13, 2009

Stade Francais missed out on the chance to go top of the Top 14 table after a surprise 22-16 defeat at the hands of Montauban at the Stade de Sapiac on Friday night, and on Saturday Perpiganan were able to take advantage of that defeat with victory over Toulon lifting them into second place.

In Friday's game two first-half penalties from fly-half Petre Mitu put the hosts in control of the contest and another after the break stretched their lead before Lionel Beauxis put Stade on the board with a penalty of his own. A drop goal from Johan Dalla Riva restored Montauban's lead but Beauxis closed the gap once more with a penalty and a drop goal.

Replacement scrum-half Julien Audy kicked Montauban's fourth penalty before Dalla Riva put the result beyond doubt with the first try of the game that was converted by Audy. Beauxis notched a last-minute consolation try and the conversion from Mark Gasnier saw the title-chasers escape with a bonus point.

Stade's slip up was compounded by another victory for leaders Toulouse who scored a 26-11 win over Castres at State Ernest Waloon. Fredrick Michalak kicked 16 points for the leaders, with Gregory Lamboley and Remi Lamerat the try scorers.

Perpignan also took advantage of the Parisians defeat with a narrow away win at Toulon. The visitors had trailed 26-13 after 55 minutes of a pulsating game. A Henry Tuilagi try and 11 points from the boot of Jérôme Porical had given them a 29-26 lead with only four minutes left, however the home side pushed all the way, and Sébastien Fauque's forth penalty goal of the day leveled the game going into injury time - with victory secured for the visitors by a David Mele drop goal with the last kick of the game. Perpignan now move into second place, one point behind Toulouse.

At the other end of the table it was defeat again for Mont de Marsan - but not by much, as Brive left Stade Guy Boniface with an 18-16 win, thanks to Fabrice Estebanez's late try which tied the game, with Barry Davies conversion denying a share of the spoils for the basement side.

Dax and Bourgoin-Jallieu remain just above Mont de Marsan at the bottom end of the table after suffering contrasting defeats on Saturday.

Dax had led Bayonne 6-3 at the break but the games only try - from replacement prop Arnaud Heguy - took the home side into the lead early in the second half. Louis Strydom then knocked over two penalties to add to an early kick from Spanish scrum half Cedric Garcia to secure a 14-9 victory and leave Dax with only a losing bonus point.

In contrast Bourgoin were on the wrong end of a six try thumping at the hands of Clermont-Auvergne with Butch James collecting a 'full house' with a try six conversions, four penalties and a drop goal for 32 points in the 59-23 victory.

In the weekend's final game Montpellier notched a narrow 12-9 victory over Biarritz with fly-half Benedict Paillaugue slotting four penalties to seal the victory over their mid-table rivals.


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