Rugby

Montpellier edge Toulon

2016-12-24 07:02

Paris - Shalva Mamukashvili scored two tries for Montpellier as they led from start to finish to edge a depleted Toulon 33-29 in the big game in France's Top 14 on Friday.

In an earlier match Clermont Ferrand thumped Stade Francais 46-10 and scored six tries on the way as the Top 14 leaders enjoyed a rousing performance.

The leaders now have 46 points from their 14 games ahead of Montpellier and La Rochelle on 41 while Toulon are fourth on 37.

A late rally from Toulon, who rested six of their stars, saw them score a last gasp try and conversion to clinch a bonus point which could prove precious come the end of the season.

"Happily we came back into it late on to get that point, because we really suffered in the first half," Toulon's Eric Escande said after the loss.

Montpellier captain Fulgence Ouedraogo said his team had been on fire, but also praised the opposition.

"We could have had a bonus point but Toulon never give up," he said.

There was also a big scoring comeback win for La Rochelle, who eventually overran bottom side Bayonne 42-17 after they had been led 17-0.

The win makes third placed La Rochelle a serious contender for the play-offs.

Racing 92 also bounced back from their European disappointment with a 23-10 win over Castres, although a late try for Castres meant they missed a bonus point.

Wenceslas Lauret had a hand in all three tries for Racing and the win, a first in four games, lifted them back to fourth place.

"It's a relief, people were starting to worry about us and so was I," said Racing backs coach Laurent Labit.

Brive breezed past Lyon 22-6 leaving the losers hovering near the relegation zone in the early match.

Gaetan Germain took 17 points for Brive hitting the target six times out of six, while former French international Frederic Michalak opened the scores for Lyon, who have now lost three games in a row.

Thibaud Daubanga and Jale Vatuba grabbed second half tries as confident Pau beat Bordeaux 18-16 away. The home side got the first try of the game to give Bordeaux a 10-0 lead through Luke Braid but Raphael Ibanez's men had a dreadful second-half.

Grenoble climbed off the foot of the table on Thursday with a rousing 26-22 win over a Toulouse still getting over their European exertions.

The win ignites vague hopes of escaping relegation for the Alpine hosts and leaves Toulouse rooted outside the end-of-season play-off places.

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