Yachvili boots Biarritz to Toulon Top 14 victory

Five-time French champions Biarritz gained a much-needed win on Saturday as they beat title hopefuls Toulon 25-6 thanks largely to 17 points from the boot of Dimitri Yachvili.

The two-time European Cup finalists’ victory was not enough to lift them off the bottom of the table but what was only their third win of the season took them to within just three points of safety.

Biarritz showed the required brio and spirit right from the start, with Argentinian fly-half Marcelo Bosch scoring a try in the fifth minute that french veteran Yachvili converted.

Three penalties from Yachvili, making his first start of the season after being out injured following the World Cup, and a drop-goal on the stroke of half-time by Bosch gave Biarritz a 19-0 lead against a strangely flat Toulon outfit.

The visitors finally got on the scoreboard early in the second half through a Jonny Wilkinson penalty but Yachvili replied with one of his own a few minutes later after veteran England lock Simon Shawa was ajudged offside.

Biarritz held firm throughout the second half but in what was hardly a crowd-pleasing spectacle, Wilkinson and Yachvili landed a further penalty apiece.

Earlier, Top 14 newcomers Bordeaux-Begles stunned Stade Francais with a comprehensive 39-6 home win over the Parisian giants.

Bordeaux scored five tries, with a brace for Australian winger Blair Connor, as they completely overwhelmed their opponents and eased six points clear of the relegation places.

Defeat also saw Stade slip out of the top six, which at the end of the season guarantees a place in the title play-offs.

There was also not good news for Paris’ other club, Racing-Metro, who went down 29-14 to last season’s surprise Top 14 finalists Montpellier.

The Mediterranean coastal team scored four tries through captain Fulgence Ouedraogo, Lucas Amorosino, Santiago Fernandez and Sakiusa Matadigo for a comfortable win over a well-beaten Racing side for whom Remy Vaquin and veteran Sireli Bobo each scored a try.

“We have rediscovered our smile,” said Montpellier assistant coach Didier Bes, in a nod to their previous 45-20 hammering by Toulouse.

“We would have given our right hand for such a result, even if losing the offensive bonus point in the last minutes is annoying as we gave it away in turning the ball over.”

Second-placed Clermont lost further ground on leaders and champions Toulouse as they were surprisingly held 6-6 by relegation-threatened Lyon.

Agen moved back into the top six thanks to kicker Conrad Barnard, as he slotted over all their points in a 15-6 win over Brive to curb a run of two successive losses.

In Friday’s match, Lionel Beauxis sent out a Six Nations reminder for new France coach Philippe Saint-Andre by notching up 30 points as Toulouse ran out 30-15 winners over struggling Bayonne.

It took to 58 the points the 12-cap fly-half has scored in his two past Top 14 matches, and consolidated his team’s spot atop the standings.

With Clermont drawing, Toulouse hold a five-point lead over them, while Lyon drew to within two points of safety and an ailing Bayonne side that have lost their last four matches.

French rugby championship Top 14 results on Saturday:
Montpellier 29 Racing-Metro 14
Agen 15 Brive 9
Bordeaux 39 Paris 6
Castres 33 Perpignan 6
Lyon 6 Clermont 6
Biarritz 25 Toulon 6
Played Friday
Toulouse 30 Bayonne 15

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