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Puma Cordero's double sends Bordeaux-Begles back top

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Paris (AFP)

Argentina winger Santiago Cordero scored two tries as Bordeaux-Begles returned to first place in the French Top 14 with a 27-23 victory at Pau on Sunday.

Bordeaux-Begles had temporarily dropped to second spot following Lyon's convincing victory over Bayonne on Saturday.

The home side, who were without suspended ex-All Blacks full-back Ben Smith, move up to 10th thanks to a late bonus point.

Australia back-rower Scott Higginbotham crossed for the visitors on 23 minutes after Antoine Hastoy had slotted an early penalty for the home side at the Stade du Hameau.

Pau, without a league win since November 9, were back in the lead less than 10 minutes later with Vincent Pinto's effort.

But Cordero, 24, touched down twice in a 10-minute spell either side of the break after two clever kicks from one-time France international Mathieu Jalibert.

Bordeaux-Begles were awarded a penalty try with 20 minutes to go after pressure inside the Pau half but the home side closed the gap to 27-20 on 67 minutes as New Zealander Daniel Ramsay dotted down.

Despite Pau's late efforts, including a Hastoy penalty which clinched a defensive bonus point, the travelling side held on to go back to the top and stretched their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions.

Elsewhere, La Rochelle scored six tries as they hammered Agen 40-8 to move up to fourth in the table.

Later title holders Toulouse host Toulon with France scrum-half Antoine Dupont set to make his first appearance for the home side since suffering a back injury at the World Cup in October.

On Saturday, South Africa World Cup winner Handre Pollard scored his first try for Montpellier in a 20-20 draw with bottom side Stade Francais.

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