Stade down Racing, Clermont edge plucky Agen
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Fijian wing Waisea Nayacalevu put his legal troubles to one side as Stade Francais defeated local rivals Racing92 27-17 in France's Top 14 on Sunday, while defending champions Clermont scraped past Agen.
Waisea went on trial on Wednesday over a drunken July brawl outside a Paris nightspot, during which former team-mate Josaia Raisuqe allegedly sexually assaulted a woman.
French prosecutors called for the pair to be given suspended sentences -- one year for Raisuqe and six months for Waisea -- with the court to return a verdict on January 30.
Stade back-rower Sekou Macalou touched down for the game's first try with just three minutes gone in Paris, before Waisea grabbed a pair of tries as the hosts charged into a 24-0 lead inside the opening half an hour.
French fly-half Jules Plisson kicked 12 points as well for Stade, whose very existence was threatened last season until a proposed merger with Racing fell through.
So'otala Fa'aso'o, sin-binned on 15 minutes for a late tackle, put Racing on the board shortly before the interval, while Brice Dulin crossed the whitewash in the second half but the visitors' comeback fell short.
Racing remained fourth in the table, six points behind leaders La Rochelle, with 11th-place Stade pulling eight points clear of the relegation zone.
- 'Nothing we did was any good' -
Earlier, Clermont shipped four tries yet still managed a 35-26 home win over Agen ahead of a challenging European double-header with Saracens.
The result left Franck Azema's charges in ninth and three points off the top six after 12 matches, while Agen are still in the drop zone.
The home side grabbed an early advantage with a try from Sebastian Vahaamahina after 46 seconds, converted by Luke McAlister who later went off injured with a feared broken hand.
But Agen dug in admirably as Kiwi wing George Tilsley scored three tries for the visitors with Georgian prop Vakhtangi Akhobadze adding a fourth as Jake McIntyre and Clement Laporte combined for three conversions.
"I'm very proud of what we achieved here today because losing by a mere nine points to Clermont is enormous for us," Agen captain Antoine Miquel said.
Peceli Yato (29th minute), Benjamin Kayser (37), Remi Lamerat (47) and David Strettle (71) all added tries for Clermont, who remain unbeaten at home in the Top 14 this season.
"We were trying to get the internationals back into things and it showed in the rucks and the play," said Clermont's France veteran Morgan Parra, who made the final conversion.
"We were awful," conceded Azema. "This is no way to prepare for a European game."
"If we play like that (against Saracens), they'll score 80 points, nothing we did was any good," he added.
Agen will rue a missed 26th-minute conversion and subsequent penalty by McIntyre and a yellow card for Dave Ryan.
Second-bottom Agen would face a play-off against the losing finalist of the second tier should they still occupy 13th place come May.
"We'll stay up if we continue to play like that," Agen coach Mauricio Reggiardo said. "We acquitted ourselves well here."
© 2017 AFP