Stade Francais beat Clermont in Top14

French flyhalf Jules Plisson (R) runs with the ball

French Top 14 leaders Clermont slumped to their second defeat of the season on Sunday with their 14-9 loss to defending champions Stade Francais allowing the Paris giants to escape the bottom three.

Stade scored the only try of the game through South African flanker Jono Ross in the 14th minute as the hosts swept into a 11-0 half-time lead beneath bright sunshine at their Stade Jean-Bouin home.

Clermont had to settle for three second-half penalties from Brock James (2) and Camille Lopez for their points with the team forced to wait until the 55th minute before opening their account.

Stade welcomed back inspirational skipper Sergio Parisse as coach Gonzalo Quesado looked to the Italian to ease an injury crisis which had sidelined fellow back-row forwards Antoine Burban, Raphael Lakafia and Sekou Macalou.

Centre Jonathan Danty also enjoyed a solid afternoon and looked to have set up a second try for Jeremy Sinzelle but the score was ruled out for a forward pass.

In Saturday’s action, Australian fly-half Quade Cooper enjoyed the ideal introduction to the Top 14 as he steered Toulon to a 52-8 thrashing of Montpellier.

Toulouse would not be outdone as they also ran in eight tries to go second as they blitzed Grenoble 52-12. La Rochelle put Oyonnax to the sword, 38-3, while Pau edged Agen 33-31 and Brive notched up an impressive 16-3 home win over Bordeaux-Begles.

French Top 14 results on Sunday:

Castres 34 Racing 92 8

Stade Francais 14 Clermont 9

Saturday

Brive 16 Bordeaux-Begles 3

La Rochelle 38 Oyonnax 3

Pau 33 Agen 31

Toulon 52 Montpellier 8

Toulouse 52 Grenoble 12

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