Coachless 'injured beast' Agen lose again as president picks team

Paris (AFP) –


Bottom of the table Agen lost 19-16 at home to Lyon on Sunday in the French Top 14 in their first game since sacking their coach as president Jean-Francois Fonteneau picked the team.

Fonteneau fired Christophe Laussucq and team manager Remi Vaquin in midweek following last Saturday's 71-5 humiliation, a seventh straight loss of the season, at Bordeaux-Begles.

"When there's an electroshock there's a reaction. We didn't lack much against a Lyon team who were eyeing this game against an injured beast," businessman Fonteneau said.

"We doubled our points total, we have to stay positive," he added.

The 57-year-old made nine changes from the hammering at Stade Chaban-Delmas as centres Jordan Puletua, Sam Vaka and Samoa winger JJ Taulagi were among those to be dropped.

The hosts, who according to reports were coached by the academy manager and a physiotherapist during the week, opened the scoring as scrum-half Paul Abadie kicked a ninth-minute penalty goal.

Abadie traded efforts with the visitors' Jonathan Wisniewski for a 6-6 score after half an hour.

The away side assured the lead at the break as Australian winger Toby Arnold crossed before Wisniewski added a third penalty for a 16-6 edge at the interval.

Abadie and Wisniewski converted further shots at goal before prop Tapu Falatea went over from a driving maul and Hugo Verdu's conversion made it 19-16.

Fonteneau's men reclaimed possession after the restart but failed to break down Lyon's defence and were forced to settle for just a second bonus point of the campaign.

- La Rochelle go top -

La Rochelle moved to the top of the table for the first since December 2017 with a 19-10 victory over Clermont at Stade Marcel-Deflandre.

France full-back Brice Dulin scored the touchdown and Jules Plisson kicked the points from the tee for the hosts who conceded a try at home for the first time since January as Samoa's Tim Nanai-Williams crossed for the away side.

"It was difficult, we succeeded in coming together without giving them a bonus point," fly-half Plisson told Canal+.

"We're first now, which is a very good operation and we go to Paris next weekend as leaders," he added.

On Saturday, two-time Rugby World Cup winner Jerome Kaino suffered an ankle injury in Toulouse's 16-16 draw with local rivals Castres.

Stade Francai's trip to Montpellier was postponed due to coronavirus cases at the hosts in the second week of Top 14 games played behind closed doors because of lockdown measuers introduced in France.