Paris - Bordeaux-Begles
made history by becoming the new leaders of the Top 14 on Sunday while
All Black wing Ben Smith was sent off on his Pau debut as his team
went down 21-18 to Top 14 strugglers Stade Francais.
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Bordeaux beat the Victor Vito-led La Rochelle 20-15, scoring the
decisive, and only, try of the game through Peni Ravai eight minutes
In front a crowd of more than 38 000 at Bordeaux's Matmut Atlantique
stadium in wet, greasy conditions, Matthieu Jalibert kicked five
penalties for the home side, while Jules Plisson booted five of his own
for La Rochelle.
The result, allied with previous leader Lyon's 29-12 defeat by
Castres on Saturday, saw Bordeaux move to the league's number one spot
for the first time in the club's history.
In the day's early game, Pau wing Smith, capped 84 times by New
Zealand, was shown a red card by international referee Alexandre Ruiz in
the 51st minute for an elbow-led fend that left Stade Francais hooker
Lucas Da Silva prone.
"We're a little sad for him," Pau coach Frederic Manca said of Smith.
"There was no intent to lift the elbow or plant it in the throat."
Pau took an early lead, Antoine Hastoy hitting two penalties either side of a Siegfried Fisi'ihoi try.
But the Parisians hit back with tries either side of half-time from
Arthur Colville and Quentin Bethune, Joris Segonds converting one and
adding three further penalties.
There was drama until the end, however, as Pau captain Lucas Rey crossed for a 72nd minute try, converted by Tom Taylor.
But bottom-placed Stade held on for just their third victory of the
season, while Pau return home with the consolation of having picked up a
losing bonus point.
"It wasn't easy," Stade backs coach Julien Arias said.
essential was to win the match, to give ourselves some breathing space."