- Clermont-Ferrand - RCT Toulon - rugby - Stade Toulouse - Top 14
Toulouse put five tries past Perpignan as Clermont fall to Biarritz
European champions Toulouse roundly beat Perpignan Saturday to join Racing-Metro and Montpellier at the top of the table. Elsewhere, Biarritz toppled title holders Clermont while Stade français battled past Toulon in a swampy Stade de France.
AFP - European champions Toulouse put up an outstanding performance on Saturday as they beat Top 14 2009 champions Perpignan 38-29 running in five tries including a brace from Clement Poitrenaud.
Their victory put them alongside Racing-Metro - who beat Bayonne 15-9 on Friday - on 32 points but ahead on points difference while Toulon can also move on to 32 points should they beat Stade Francais later and take a bonus point.
However, Montpellier's 28-3 victory later on Saturday over Bourgoin saw them leapfrog both Toulouse and Racing-Metro by virtue of their head to head records this season.
Perpignan established an early supremacy racing into a 13-0 lead thanks to a try by David Mele and the rest form the boot of fullback Jerome Porical.
David Skrela got Toulouse on the board in the 26th minute with a penalty and the game seemed to swing back to the hosts as Fijian centre Vilimoni Delesau touched down from a well worked move down the backs with winger Vincent Clerc and Poitrenaud involved before Delesau squeezed in in the right hand corner.
Skrela failed with the conversion and Perpignan took advantage as Gavin Hume succeeded with a super drop goal from 40 metres out but Toulouse hit back immediately with a superb try rounded off by Poitrenaud which was successfully converted to see Perpignan take a 16-15 lead in at the break.
The hosts came out off the blocks raring to go in the second-half and Byron Kelleher scored a brilliant try bursting from behind the scrum and shrugging off two attempted tackles by Vincent Candelon and Gerrie Britz to touch down.
Skrela failed again to convert from wide out on the right but the hosts at least had the lead for the first time in the match - however two penalties by Porical in quick succession restored Perpignan's lead before Skrela landed a penalty of his own to make it 23-22 with 30 minutes to play.
Perpignan's hopes of coming out on top all but disappeared in the 65th minute when Adrien Plante was sin-binned and then William Servat crashed over for their fourth try - his fifth of the season - guaranteeing them at the very least an offensive bonus point.
Poitrenaud grabbed his second try of the game shortly afterwards breaking through some timid Perpignan defending and Skrela landed the covnersion to make it 38-22.
Defending champions Clermont suffered their fifth defeat of the season as they lost 16-13 to Biarritz.
Clermont - who at least took a defensive bonus point - had the upper hand initially taking a 10-3 lead thanks to Sione Lauaki's try and five points from the boot of Butch James.
However, the game turned in 10 minutes of the second-half as first Clermont's Davit Zirakashvili was sinbinned in the 51st minute and their French scrum-half Morgan Parra was also yellow-carded eight minutes later for his deliberate knock-on as he returned to the pitch after treatment.
A minute later Biarritz took the lead for the first time as Ilikena Bolakoro went over and Dimitri Yachvili converted for 16-10 and Clermont's sole reply came from a penalty by Anthony Floch.