Guitoune guides Toulouse to top of table

Toulouse (France) (AFP) –


France international Sofiane Guitoune scored twice as Toulouse moved to the summit of the French Top 14 on Sunday with a 29-16 win over struggling Grenoble.

Guitoune, despite his impressive form this season, is not one of his seven Toulouse teammates selected by Jacques Brunel for France's Six Nations squad.

The hosts took top spot for the first time this term after season-long leaders Clermont lost at Castres on Saturday.

Grenoble's points came from the boot of fly-half Mathieu Ugalde and hooker Mike Tadjer's try but they remain in 12th spot, four points away from the relegation playoff place.

Ugalde opened the scoring with his first of three penalties after a turgid opening 20 minutes played on a muddy surface at Stade Ernest-Wallon.

Guitoune, 29, whose last Test match came during the 2015 Rugby World Cup dotted down six minutes later making the most of a distracted defence by taking a quick tap from 10 metres out and diving over.

Ugalde added his second after half an hour before Toulouse pressure turned into another touchdown as a powerful scrum was followed by a deft off-load from influential Guitoune to play in teenager Matthis Lebel in the corner.

The visitors' fly-half slotted his final three-pointer of the game shortly after the break but the hosts dominated the rest of the fixture.

Guitoune kept his best until the hour-mark, profiting from another quick tap penalty, this time by scrum-half Sebastien Bezy to secure his eighth touchdown of the season.

Hooker Clement Castets, 22, clinched the bonus point with a quarter of an hour remaining before Tadjer scored a consolation effort seconds before the full-time whistle.

Guitoune praised the performances of the younger members of the squad who stepped up due to the missing players away on French duty.

"For sure it's our strength, we have a good group, it's not massive but we have good youngsters. It's been the strength of Toulouse during the past years to produce good youngsters," he said.

"When you see Matthis Lebel and Arthur Bonneval it bodes well for the future," he added.

Later on Sunday Toulon host Stade Francais in the final match of the weekend.