Stade Francais hit half-century against Brive

Paris (AFP) –


Stade Francais notched up a bonus-point, six-try 51-21 demolition of 14-man Brive to move into fourth spot in the Top 14 on Sunday.

Tongan back Telusa Veainu, full-back Kylan Hamdaoui and South African scrum-half James Hall all crossed early on for the Parisian club, but Brive used their powerful maul to battle back to 27-21 after 46 minutes.

A fourth try from another of Stade's South Africans, Gerbrandt Grobler, secured the bonus point in the 54th minute.

That also coincided with a red card for Brive's Samoan flanker So'otala Fa'aso'o for a high tackle on Joris Segonds, who had notched up four conversions and three penalties for a personal haul of 17 points.

Stade made the most of the numerical difference, Fijian back Waisea Nayacalevu and Mathieu de Giovanni both crossing late on and the home side's defence holding on to deny Brive a fourth try that would have seen them bag a defensive bonus point.

Stade coach Gonzalo Quesada called the victory "positive on several levels", praising defensive efforts as well an efficient attack.

"If someone had told me we'd finish fourth at the halfway mark of the season with 50 points and an attacking bonus point, I'd have taken it," the former Argentina fly-half said.

In Sunday's late game, Racing 92 held onto third place after edging Clermont 24-22 at a snow-covered Stade Marcel-Michelin.

Irish full-back Simon Zebo scored the decisive try just six minutes from time just after Camille Lopez had kicked his fifth penalty of the game for a 22-19 Clermont lead.

Racing have now won three and drawn one of their last four trips to Clermont.

"It's annoying, it's been going on for a month. We will have to react otherwise we will just survive in the middle of the championship," fumed Lopez.

"We will all have to change our behaviour. We have been training less hard for a month and a half. Racing were pragmatic, they didn't do anything exceptional."

Saturday's action saw hooker Pierre Bourgarit score a hat-trick of first-half tries as league leaders La Rochelle crushed rock-bottom Agen 43-13.

Toulouse stayed in touch in second place after a 71st-minute try gave them a narrow 16-9 win at Montpellier while Toulon lost 31-18 to Bordeaux-Begles.

Montpellier's loss spelled the death knell for Xavier Garbajosa, sacked Sunday and replaced by former France coach Philippe Saint-Andre, promoted from his director of rugby role into one that also took on Garbajosa's sporting manager title.

Castres nipped Lyon 15-14, but Bayonne's home game against Pau was postponed because of Covid-19 cases.

Bad went to worse for Bayonne Sunday as they announced their decision to withdraw from their remaining two European Challenge Cup matches, against Leicester and Zebre on January 15 and 22, after more positive cases showing the new coronavirus variant that was recently detected in Britain.