Toulon beat Stade Francais in Top14

Bernard Laporte enjoyed a winning start to his new career as Toulon boss in the Top 14 on Saturday, but watched it in a television studio.

Former French coach Laporte has taken over at big-spending Toulon from Philippe Saint-Andre, who will succeed Marc Lievremont as national team boss once the World Cup comes to an end.

However, Laporte was not at Toulon’s Stade Felix-Mayol, where his new side romped to a 34-8 win over Stade Francais, but in Paris honouring his media obligations as a consultant with French television.

Toulon ran in five tries with lock Jocelino Suta, whose first came after 26 seconds, and New Zealand winger David Smith scoring two each and Australian full-back Luke Rooney adding the fifth and final score.

On Friday, five-time French champions and two-time European Cup runners-up Biarritz slumped to their fourth defeat of the Top 14 season when a 29-24 loss to Perpignan left them bottom of the table.

Biarritz had been cruising to a first victory of the campaign when they led 21-12 at the interval thanks to tries from hooker Arnaud Hegut and Fijian centre Ilikena Bolakoro.

They were also aided by a first-half yellow card for Perpignan number eight Jean-Pierre Perez, which allowed them to score 16 points in an 18-minute spell.

But Perpignan racked up 29 unanswered points after the interval, with tries from flanker Damien Chouly and winger Armand Batlle while full-back Jerome Porical kicked 19 points.

A late penalty from Jean-Pascal Baraque cut the deficit but it was not enough for Biarritz, who have complained that their campaign has been dented by losing eight players to the World Cup, including influential French duo Imanol Harinordoquy and Dimitri Yachvili.

Biarritz and Montpellier both have just a point each but it is Patrice Lagisquet’s side who prop up the division on points difference. Montpellier were beaten 20-16 at home by Bordeaux-Begles.

Clermont, the 2010 champions, stayed top of the table thanks to a tight 19-13 win over Bayonne that delivered a fifth win in five matches — the league’s only 100 percent record.

Centre Regan King scored Clermont’s only try with Australian fly-half Brock James kicking his side’s other 14 points.

Champions Toulouse snatched a last-gasp 24-23 win over Agen to go third.

Former All Black fly-half Luke McAllister scored his second try of the night as the clock ticked down and then converted his own score for a personal tally of 19 points.

“We can be very proud to have a player of the calibre of Luke McAlister,” said Toulouse back-row Yannick Nyanga.

“We said what is he doing playing in Top 14 matches. His place is at the World Cup.”

Castres defeated Brive 30-24 with all the game’s 54 points coming from the boot.

Romain Teulet and Pierre Bernard shared Castres’ 10 penalties, while Brive fly-half Mathieu Belie was successful with five of his team’s penalties with full-back Julien Caminati adding three more.

Top 14 results:
Toulon 34 Stade Francais 8
Racing-Metro 25 Lyon 12
Clermont 19 Bayonne 13
Castres 30 Brive 24
Biarritz 24 Perpignan 29
Montpellier 16 Bordeaux-Begles 20
Agen 23 Toulouse 24

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