Rugby

Waisea double sees Stade past leaders Montpellier

2017-10-07 20:37
Rugby ball

Paris - A first-half try double by irrepressible Fijian winger Waisea Nayacalevu Vuidravuwalu steered Stade Francais to a much-needed 31-20 victory over Top 14 leaders Montpellier on Saturday.

Later, Bordeaux-Begles hit back from an 18-3 deficit to edge visitors Toulon 30-27.

After seeing last season's form blighted by talk of an unlikely merger with cross-city rivals Racing 92, Stade went into the Montpellier match having lost four of their opening six matches, including two at home.

The only real bright spot of the season had been a 35-24 victory over La Rochelle at the Stade Jean Bouin, the club having picked up their second win at Pau last time out.

But Stade managed to continue their upward trajectory, Waisea proving the key mover against a Montpellier side missing the injured Aaron Cruden and Jannie du Plessis.

"It's an important victory for us after Pau," Stade backs coach Julien Dupuy said.

"We suffered a bit at the start of the season, but that now makes us smile. It's a strong signal to others and ourselves: we have to stop looking at others, we're a good team."

Montpellier forwards coach Nathan Hines, the Australian-born ex-Scotland lock, warned of further losses "should we lose as much ball as we did today".

"We made too many mistakes and didn't play as we planned. We didn't master anything, everyone's frustrated."

A mispass from Stade playmaker Jules Plisson found Waisea alone on the wing after 10 minutes, and the rest was academic despite a good covering effort by Montpellier scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar.

Scrumhalf Arthur Coville was instrumental for the second try, launching a counter attack from the Parisian club's 22m area, his chip ahead gathered by Julien Arias who also grubbered through.

With the defence all at sea, Waisea was on hand to scoop up the ball and sprint to the line.

The Parisians then suffered a hammer blow when flanker Sekou Macalou was sin binned in 39th minute for failing to roll away in the tackle.

Montpellier's Bismarck du Plessis immediately crashed over from a driving maul, Pienaar converting to make it 20-10 at half-time.

And with Macalou still off the paddock early in the second period, giant Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo showed all his power to muscle in from close range after great interlinking play among the Montpellier backs.

No sooner had Macalou made it back onto the pitch than Montpellier suffered the same fate, with prop Antoine Guillamon binned for a scrum binding infringement.

Plisson's third and fourth penalties, followed by a second for Pienaar left it 26-20 with the final quarter to play.

Waisea turned provider for the third, decisive try, accelerating away down the wing and offloading inside to Arias, who in turn found Tony Ensor, the Kiwi fullback sliding over for the final word.

Bordeaux were in trouble with half-time approaching as tries from bullocking Fijian wing Josua Tuisova and South African lock Juandre Kruger helped Toulon pull clear early on.

But Jean-Baptiste Dubie started the fightback by crossing the whitewash four minutes from the break.

The wing got his second soon after Bordeaux were awarded a penalty try while New Zealander flyhalf Simon Hickey went over too as Bordeaux scored three tries in a blistering 11-minute period to streak into a 30-21 lead.

France flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc bagged two late penalties to snatch a defensive bonus point for the three-time European champions, but they dropped a place to fifth as moved up to second behind Montpellier.

Read more on:    montpellier  |  stade francais  |  top 14  |  rugby
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