Stade rediscover winning ways against Castres

Jacques Delmas and Didier Faugeron enjoyed a winning start to life as coaches of Stade Francais as the Top14 giants overcame Castres 44-18 to halt a dismal run of form.

The pair were brought in to replace Ewen McKenzie and Christophe Dominci, who were asked to step down in the wake of a 30-22 defeat at Biarritz that saw the Parisian outfit slip into the relegation zone.

A brace of penalties from New Zealand fly-half Cameron McIntyre gave visitors Castres an early 6-0 advantage, but prop Sylvain Marconnet responded with a try and Noel Oelschig’s boot ensured Stade went in with a 16-15 lead at half-time.

Wing Mirco Bergamasco went over to extend the hosts’ advantage early in the second period and they didn’t look back, with further tries from James Haskell and Julien Arias – and a 24-point contribution from Oelschig – condemning Castres to their first defeat of the season.

Toulon welcomed back England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson for their trip to Montpellier but the former Newcastle man was unable to prevent his side from succumbing to their second successive defeat.

Wilkinson was rested for the 21-18 loss to Montauban and his trusty left boot secured 10 points to give the visitors a 20-9 lead with 20 minutes to play, only for Montpellier to snatch a 21-20 victory through tries from Sebastien Kuzbik and Jacques Boussuge, who went over in the very last minute.

Elsewhere, Toulouse returned to winning ways with a narrow 19-13 home win over bottom club Albi, while fly-half Cedric Rosalen was responsible for 18 points for Montauban as they beat Brive 23-20.

In Saturday’s late games, Biarritz host Bayonne in the first Basque derby of the season while newly promoted Racing-Metro travel to Clermont.

Cash-strapped Bourgoin produced one of the shocks of the fledgling campaign on Friday night, when they overcame defending champions Perpignan 17-6.

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