Clermont beat Stade in Top 14

Clermont beat Stade Francais 21-19 on Saturday for their first ever victory at the Stade de France following four final defeats and French championship losses to Stade since 1999.

The Parisian club’s owner Max Guazzini had ensured a full house crowd with his mix of elite rugby and pre-game razzmatazz and the 79,842 spectators was a record for a regular-season French championship game.

A penalty from Australian outside-half Brock James and a missed kick by his Stade Francais opposite number Lionel Beauxis sealed victory for Clermont in a tight match.

Stade Francais retained their third spot in the table ahead of Clermont thanks to their bonus point.

The Parisians led 13-6 at the break thanks to a Mathieu Bastareaud try, converted by Beauxis and who also kicked two penalties.

Clermont’s James had scored two penalties before the break and, after the interval, team-mates Julien Malzieu and John Senio both touched down.

Stade’s Australian coach Ewen McKenzie bemoaned his team’s high error count.

“It was unbelievable. We committed too many mistakes. In the first half we conceded eight penalties against three for us,” he said.

“Happily James missed three of them in the first half. If he had scored them, the game would have been over. The only thing not going for us is our discipline. If you look at the statistics, the defence is fine.

“But, in terms of discipline, we are the 13th team.”

Toulouse stay top of the table thanks to a commanding 42-10 win at Brive, running in five tries in the process from Yohan Montes (2), Maxime Medard (2) and Virgile Lacombe.

The league leaders also welcomed back former All Black scrum-half Byron Kelleher after a two-month injury lay-off. It was all perfect preparation for the team’s European Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues next weekend.

“We had the heart to play a good match,” said Toulouse centre Cedric Heymans a former Brive player.

Perpignan remain second in the table, a point behind Toulouse after a six-try, 44-3 home win over bottom side Mont-de-Marsan.

French Top 14 rugby results on Saturday:

Perpignan 44 Mont-de-Marsan 3
Montpellier 21 Castres 23
Toulon 33 Montauban 20
Brive 10 Toulouse 42
Stade Francais 19 Clermont 21
Bayonne 15 Biarritz 19

Bourgoin 43 Dax 6

Sapa-AFP –

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