Top 14 Round 5 Wrap-Up

Top 14 Round 5 Wrap-Up

Missed any of the action from France’s Top 14 League? Then we’ve got you covered with a wrap-up of each and every game courtesy of contributor, Larissa Falls.

Oyonnax v La Rochelle
FT = Oyonnax 19 – 17 La Rochelle

La Rochelle have now lost another Top 14 game, this time going down to newly promoted Oyonnax in their fourth defeat of the season. The match was arguably a tale of two halves with the first 40 minutes belonging to the hosts who scored 13 points: 8 from the foot of Argentinian Fly-Half Domingo Miotti, plus a try from Winger, Sweetnam. La Rochelle’s only first-half score came after 24 minutes through an Iribaren penalty goal. It was Oyonnax who again scored first from the dressing room with 2 more Miotti penalties. But from the 59th minute onwards, it was one way traffic for Les Maritimes who’s 14 points gave them a much-needed losing bonus-point to end the afternoon. Front-Rower Joel Sclavi went over first for La Rochelle before fellow Prop Thierry Paiva also crossed four minutes into injury time. Both conversions were added thanks to U20 Fly-Half Hugo Reus, which finally gave Ronan O’Gara’s team something to smile about.

Perpignan v Toulon
FT = Perpignan 26 – 22 Toulon

Celebrations in Catalan country as Perpignan secured their first win of the season despite Toulon’s team comprising nine 2023 Rugby World Cup players. It was however USAP’s star RWC International, Tommaso Allan, who kicked off the match with a 6th minute penalty and ended the day top scorer with 16 individual points. RCT hit back soon after with a try from Charles Ollivon, but the conversion attempt by Dan Biggar caused the fly-half to succumb to a back injury and he was subsequently removed from the game. The rest of the first period see-sawed with the hosts piling on two more penalties, a try from Velarte, and the conversion. Similarly, Toulon scored a try through full-back Amyeric Luc and 5 points from the boot of Enzo Herve. Even though RCT managed more entries inside the 22m (12 v 5) and more metres gained, it wasn’t enough to see off a hungry Perpignan side. An 80th minute Keiran Brookes converted try gave the visitors a lucky losing Bonus-Point.

Bordeaux v Montpellier
FT = Bordeaux 26 – 13 Montpellier

Boosted by the return of notable French Rugby World Cup players Maxime Lucu and Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Bordeaux handed Montpellier another defeat in a season that’s close to unravelling for them. Both sides scored two first half tries- MHR thanks to Gabriel Ngandebe and Elliott Stooke, and UBB courtesy of Uberti and Boniface- but it was the successful boot of Lucu that proved the difference. The Scrumhalf added 2 penalties and a conversion to give the hosts an 18-10 half-time lead. Montpellier’s only second half score came from a Louis Carbonel penalty on the 43rd minute mark, with the side defending almost purely for the remaining 35 minutes. The pressure soon told and Bordeaux breached the line when young flyer Bielle-Biarrey went over for a five-pointer just before the final siren. It was another disappointing performance from MHR who failed to make even a solitary line-break, were wasteful in front of goals, and had Doumenc Yellow-Carded.

Clermont v Bayonne
FT = Clermont 46 – 14 Bayonne
It was mostly one way traffic at Stade Marcel-Michelin as Clermont’s 7 tries easily saw off a Bayonne side that received 2 Yellow Cards (Iturria and Maqala) and who managed to score just a solitary converted try each half. The hosts were scoring at a point per minute early on when Argentina’s speedster Delguy crossed the whitewash with Urdapilleta adding a further 5 points- all inside the opening 10 minutes! Additional tries from Yato and Raka- the first of his double!- cancelled out the Bayonne try from French Winger Callandret who was set-up by stalwarts Tatafu and Machenaud. ASM accumulated the most first-half points of any Top 14 outfit this Round and replicated that in the second 40 too courtesy of Raka’s second try of the day, plus a Newsome, Belleau and Penalty Try.
Despite Yan Lestrade’s try for Bayonne, they struggled to live with the elusiveness of Clermont’s substitutes, most notably Scrumhalf, Janeau. A very fine Offensive Bonus-Point performance from ASM who appear to be back in business.
Stade Francais v Castres
FT = Stade 39 – 16 Castres
Six tries to Stade Francais gave them a very comfortable 39-16 win over Castres. Both Ward and Peyresblanques crossed for a brace for the Parisian club with the latter scoring his two from close range, and in quick succession. Castres had just two penalty goals from Pierre Popelin to showfor at half-time, whilst it was Ward’s try right on the 40-minute siren that showed the Pinks class when incisive passing opened CO’s defence and allowed new signing Zach Henry to put Ward in to close out the opening half. The second period wasn’t much different with Stade accruing a further 3 tries; another gorgeous Ward score after a perfectly timed intercept, and close-range efforts from Macalou and Pierre-Henri Azagah.
The visitors gave the scoreline a little more respectability when Prop Chilachava picked up from the base of the ruck to score in the 82nd minute.
Racing 92 v Lyon
FT = Racing 22 -20 Lyon
Lyon almost pulled off the only away victory of the weekend but new South African signing Tristan Tedder scored a 79th minute converted try to hand the home side a stunning last-gasp win. It took 22 minutes for the first score to hit the board when Lyon’s French International Couilloud went over for a fiver-pointer. Racing hit back immediately with a try of their own thanks to Outside-Centre Inia Tabuavou. Tedder added the extras before adding 3 more points just before the half-time whistle to give them a narrow 10-8 lead. Four second-half Lyon penalties- 3 from Paddy Jackson and 1 from Georgian Davit Niniashvili- sandwiched a try from Racing’s Laclayat. It gave the visitors a 15-20 lead with just 60 seconds remaining on the clock, but Tedder’s personal haul of 7 points on the stroke of full-time broke Lyon hearts and sent raptures throughout La Defense Arena.
Pau v Toulouse
FT = Pau 13 – 9 Toulouse
Pau capitalised on a Rugby World Cup weakened Toulouse team by beating the reigning Top 14 Champions, 13-9. The visitors managed just 3 first half penalty goals courtesy of Melvyn Jaminet’s boot. And whilst the French International Full-Back had a chance to close the gap in the 73rd minute, his attempt rebounded off the left post. Pau, led by an all-England half-back pairing in Dan Robson and Joe Simmonds, scored the only try of the match thanks to Australian Flanker, Reece Hewat. Continuing his scintillating form, new signing Simmonds was the sole scorer in the matches second half (one penalty), which gives Pau an unbeaten home record so far this season, and has catapulted them to top of the overall ladder standings.

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