Parra puts Clermont top of the league
February 8, 2014
Morgan Parra's try put the gloss on another impressive home performance by Clermont © Getty Images
Morgan Parra was the star of the show as Clermont rose to the top of the Top 14 summit with a 25-13 win over Stade Francais.
After six penalties for Parra to just two from the boot of Morne Steyn, Clermont led 20-6 at the hour mark over the Paris side, who came into the weekend top of the table. Clermont demonstrated just why they have such a fearsome reputation at home, with Parra then crossing the whitewash ten minutes from time to secure a resounding victory.
Stade grabbed a late consolation from Digby Ioane four minutes later but it was far too little too late for the visitors.
A last minute penalty from Eric Escande saw Montpellier hand Toulouse their first home defeat of the Top 14 season with a 15-12 victory.
Neither side scored a try in a cagey affair, but it looked as though Toulouse has snatched a draw when Nicolas Bezy knocked a penalty over two minutes from time. But it wasn't to be as Toulouse - missing six French players to international duty - conceded a penalty in field goal range with the clock in the red for Escande to convert, dropping the home side to seventh in the league.
After the match, Toulouse president Jean-Rene Bouscatel launched scathing criticism of the French federation and the league for the system which has deprived him of so many of his top players.
Toulon ended a run of three successive league defeats as they left it late to beat the league's bottom side, Biarritz, 33-20.
The European champions have slipped down the table with their recent form but early first-half tries from Joe van Niekerk and Delon Armitage giving them a perfect start. But their lead did not last long, as a Seremaia Burotu try and three penalties from Dimitri Yachvili put Biarritz 14-10 up at the break. Yachvili and Jonny Wilkinson exchanged penalties after the half-time but it was not until Matt Giteau and Armitage crossed in quick succession five minutes from time that Toulon wrapped up the victory.
Reigning champions Castres kept pace with the leading pair as they avoided an upset with a narrow 17-16 win over Oyonnax. Bayonne edged Brive 9-6, while Perpignan and Racing Metro shared the spoils in a 16-16 draw.
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