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Montpellier slaughter Racing to pull clear in Top 14

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Paris (AFP)

Top 14 leaders Montpellier steamrollered second-placed Racing 92 with a crushing five try 41-3 victory in the French top flight on Saturday with many top stars away on Six Nations duty.

The match was also marked by a fist fight in the warm-up as Montpellier forwards Bismarck Du Plessis and Mohamed Haouas came to blows, exchanging several punches before teammates dragged the raging pair apart.

After the pre-match fireworks Montpellier set about beating the other side as two tries from Jan Serfontein either side of the break and another from his South African compatriot Nico Janse Van Rensburg saw the home side run away with it by the 45th minute.

They had gone in at half-time 13-3 up thanks to two penalties from Ruan Pienaar with Pat Lambie's first-half penalty earning the visitors their only points of a long, hard afternoon.

Later tries from Fijian wing Timoci Nagusa on 68 minutes and the French number 8 Louis Picamoles on 72 sealed a win that ensures Montpellier will emerge from the weekend top of the heap.

Montpellier lost at Agen last week and had seen the Parisians close the gap on them but Saturday's mauling leaves the home side on 66 points with six matches to play while the visitors are on 58 and can be replaced in second spot by Toulouse, who play Lyon on Sunday.

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