Brive pile pressure on Stade Francais in Top14

French giants Stade Francais, with their resources stretched by Six Nations call-ups and injuries in key positions, slumped to a dispiriting 26-14 defeat at Brive on Friday.

The loss, coming on the back of their 29-0 humbling at the hands of Toulouse last weekend, delivered another blow to their hopes of making the Top 14 play-offs, a fate which has befallen them just once before.

Brive were 19-6 ahead at the break as Stade struggled to find any rhythm as full-back Nicolas Jeanjean scored his team’s first try after 16 minutes with Fabrice Estebenaz kicking the extras as well as three first half penalties and a drop goal.

Lionel Beauxis kept Stade on the scoreboard with two first half penalties but any hope of a fightback was quashed in the 53rd minute when referee Mathieu Raynal awarded a penalty try, punishing a weary Stade pack for collapsing the scrum.

Hooker Laurent Sempere’s 70th-minute try was too little, too late for Stade who are now down in eighth place.

League leaders Castres were also losers on Friday.

Castres went down 19-6 at Toulon for whom Australian centre Mafileo Kefu and backrow forward Olivier Missoup scored tries for the home side.

Castres remain in pole position but Clermont, who suffered a shock 22-13 defeat at struggling Bayonne, slipped to third place after defending champions Perpignan beat Biarritz 19-14.

Perpignan are just a point behind the leaders.

Former European champions Toulouse are fourth after a 34-3 home win over Montpellier with all of their points coming in a devastating first-half blitz.

Yann David, Virgile Lacombe, Jean Bouilhou, Cedric Heymans and Vincent Clerc all scored tries for Toulouse before Montpellier stopped the rot after the interval.

However, Toulouse’s celebrations were muted when French backrow forward Fulgence Ouedraogo limped off with a knee injury after just seven minutes.

Ouedraogo will be sidelined for “two-three weeks” and will miss out on a recall to the French squad for the final Six Nations match against England in Paris on March 20, a game which could see the home side clinch the grand slam.

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