Stade move into Top14 play off contention

Stade Francais moved into the French Top 14 play-off places on Saturday with a 53-27 bonus-point mauling of Agen, running in seven tries in the process.

Argentine star Felipe Contepomi grabbed a brace, with Italian national skipper Sergio Parisse, Australian forward David Lyons, Aussie centre Morgan Turinui, French winger Julian Arias and Kiwi forward Aled de Malmanche also scoring.

The win put Stade onto 52 points, the same as fifth-placed Montpellier, and three ahead of Racing Metro, who slipped to a 32-20 defeat at Toulon.

Fourth-placed Castres defeated Montpellier 27-18 to keep them on track for the six-team play-offs.

Despite the win, Stade coach Michael Cheika refused to accept that a play-off spot was guaranteed, especially with a match against defending champions and league leaders Toulouse up next.

“A place in the play-offs? We’ll talk about that after the match against Toulouse who are a class above us,” said the Australian.

Racing had led 20-19 at the interval against Toulon, but failed to add to their total as the home side consolidated their place in third spot.

French centre Henry Chavancy and Fiji winger Isireli Bobo scored tries for Racing in the space of seven first-half minutes with Australian full-back Luke Rooney crossing to keep Toulon in touch.

Jonny Wilkinson, who had converted Rooney’s first half try, as well as kicking four penalties, was successful with two more penalties after the break as Toulon seized the lead.

Scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde stretched the advantage on the hour mark with his team’s second try. Wilkinson again added the extras.

Clermont edged Perpignan 29-23 to rack up their 40th successive win at their Marcel Michelin stadium fortress and move a point behind Toulouse who were surprisingly defeated by Bordeaux on Friday.

Clermont took their opportunity despite a bruising start that saw their prop Lionel Faure and Perpignan hooker Charles Geli both yellow-carded for a second-minute punch-up.

Number eight Alexandre Lapandry scored Clermont’s only try of the game in the ninth minute, with David Skrela kicking eight penalties.

Perpignan had the consolation of out-scoring Clermont thanks to first-half efforts from Joffrey Michel and Cavalieri Plante.

Welsh star James Hook converted both tries and booted three penalties.

“I am satisfied, especially by our tactics,” said Clermont coach Vern Cotter.

“It was important to have that sort of commitment ahead of our European Cup quarter-final tie.”

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