Bayonne end troubled week with Top 14 win

French crisis club Bayonne ended a troubled, embarrassing week with a gritty 24-19 win over Montpellier on Friday.

Having suspended Mike Phillips after the Welsh international scrum-half was accused of turning up for a video analysis session drunk, Bayonne ran in two first-half tries for a much-needed victory.

Montpellier picked up a losing bonus point to take temporary charge of top spot in the table ahead of the rest of the weekend programme.

With Phillips reportedly facing the sack, his two co-accused, backrow forward Dwayne Haare and fly-half Stephen Brett were retained in the squad for Friday’s game.

New Zealander Brett rewarded the club’s patience with a key role in Bayonne’s second try.

“It’s been a difficult week with a lot of talk outside the club, but we stayed tight,” said Bayonne’s Argentine winger Martin Bustos Moyano who contributed 19 points.

“We were thinking of Mike Phillips all week. The team is right behind him and I hope he returns next week.”

Benoit Paillaugue kicked an early penalty to give Montpellier the lead after the Bayonne scrum was penalised for a league-leading 33rd time this season.

But Bayonne were in front just five minutes later with the first of their two opening half tries.

Bustos Moyano had seen a difficult penalty pop back off the upright.

But the ball was recovered and released for former All Black star Joe Rokocoko, playing at centre, to burst through for the try.

Bustos Moyano was successful with the conversion for a 7-3 lead which soon became 10-3 thanks to a monster penalty from the halfway line by the Argentine winger.

But Montpellier were level at 10-10 when scrum-half Enzo Selponi spotted an inviting gap in the Bayonne defences to sprint through.

Paillaugue converted before Bayonne again seized the initiative with a Bustos Moyano penalty.

That 13-10 lead then became 18-10 when Brett went some way to restoring his reputation with an interception and a breakaway before releasing Bustos Moyano for the try in the corner.

The Argentine went wide with his conversion attempt before Paillaugue cut the deficit to 18-13 at half-time with a penalty.

Brett missed the target with a drop goal attempt early in the second half before Bustos Moyano hit a simple penalty as Bayonne stretched out to 21-13.

Paillaugue kicked two more penalties as Montpellier came back to 21-19 down.

But Bustos Moyano completed a 19-point haul with his fourth penalty of the evening to see Bayonne home

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