Biarritz deepen Stade Francais gloom

Biarritz heaped further pressure on struggling Top14 giants Stade Francais with a 30-22 victory over the Parisians on Sunday.

Ewen McKenzie’s side sunk to their heaviest home defeat in nine years when they lost 40-35 against Montauban on Wednesday and their misery deepened in a comprehensive defeat to the Basque side.

The visitors, semi-finalists last season, struck first through a Noel Oelschig penalty in the third minute, but after Ilikena Bolakoro’s 17th-minute try for the hosts they were always trailing.

Biarritz led 17-9 at half-time and moved 20-9 ahead via a Julien Peyrelongue penalty at the beginning of the second period.

Former Leicester Tigers star Julien Dupuy succeeded with two penalties to draw Stade Francais closer, but American winger Takudzwa Ngwenya’s late breakaway try put paid to any hopes of a comeback.

The visitors were awarded a consolation in the form of a disputed injury-time penalty try, but it will provide scant solace as they reflect on a disastrous week that leaves them adrift in the bottom two.

“We conceded three tries on counter-attacks,” said Stade Francais prop Sylvain Marconnet.


“It wasn’t Biarritz that created the tries, they were just opportunistic.

“It’s a huge disappointment but we’re going to work hard to get back to our best level.”

Montauban capped a memorable seven days with a 21-18 victory over big-spending Toulon, who went into the match in second place.

Summer signing Jonny Wilkinson has been the key man for Toulon so far this season, but the English World Cup -winner was rested for Sunday’s trip.

Frenchman Sebastien Fauque assumed kicking responsibilities and sank five penalties to keep Toulon in contention.

With Montauban leading 18-15 going into the final 10 minutes, South Africa’s Conrad Barnard converted a penalty to draw the visitors level, but in the very last minute Cedric Rosalen sent a penalty over to give Montauban the spoils.

Marc Raynaud’s men climb to 10th while Toulon have been overtaken by defending champions Perpignan, who recorded a third straight win at Racing-Metro.

France international forwards Lionel Nallet and Sebastien Chabal both returned for the home side, but a converted 54th-minute try from Jean-Philippe Grandclaude enabled Perpignan to prevail by 18 points to 14, having earlier trailed 11-0.

“It’s our third victory of the week and I think we’re the only team to have managed that,” said Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel.

“Last year we won eight times away from home. This year it will not be possible. With the strength of the championship and the quality of the teams in the Top14 , I don’t see how we can win eight times away from home.”

Castres returned to action after a week-long hiatus due to an outbreak of swine flu at the club and secured a third successive victory with a 33-18 win at home to Montpellier.

Promoted Albi remain winless and rooted to the bottom of the table after losing 39-6 at Brive, while Bayonne enjoyed the biggest win of the day with a crushing 53-6 triumph over cash-strapped Bourgoin.

Last season’s runners-up Clermont host Toulouse in Sunday’s evening game.


Collated results from the Top 14 French rugby union championship on Sunday:


Biarritz 30 Stade Francais 22
Castres 33 Montpellier 18
Bayonne 53 Bourgoin 6
Montauban 21 Toulon 18
Brive 39 Albi 6
Racing-Metro 14 Perpignan 18
Clermont 19 Toulouse 12

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