Toulon leap back to Top 14 summit
April 19, 2014
Julien Caminati goes over for Grenoble © Getty Images
Perpignan, Bayonne and Oyonnax will all go into the final round of the Top 14 battling to preserve their top flight status.
All three sides are level on 50 points at the foot of the table with Perpignan falling to Toulon and both Oyonnax and Bayonne snatching late draws in their games.
With the kick-offs staggered on Saturday, Oyonnax went in search of a win at home to Toulouse to alleviate their relegation worries but they were left with two points after a late penalty from Benjamin Urdapilleta saw the game draw level at 19-19. Lionel Beauxis had a late chance to snatch the game for Toulouse but he missed from the tee.
Perpignan are now level on points with Oyonnax after they fell to a heavy 46-31 loss at home to table-toppers Toulon. Perpignan decided to take the match to Barcelona and but it was the visitors who turned on the style ahead of their Heineken Cup semi-final as they ran in four tries through Virgile Bruni, a wonder try from Steffon Armitage and a brace from Rudi Wulf alongside 26 points from Frederic Michalak. Perpignan battled hard but crossed for three tries thanks to efforts from Joffrey Michel, Guilhem Guirado and Wandile Mjekevu.
The Perpignan faithful welcome their team to the field © Getty Images
Bayonne left it late to secure a draw against Grenoble with Martin Bustos Moyano knocking over a late penalty to draw the game level at 22-22. Both teams crossed for two tries with Fabien Alexandre and Julien Caminati scoring for Grenoble and Marvin O'Connor scoring two for Bayonne. Biarritz are already down but they raised some cheer with a 19-13 win over Brive.
In the final round of the season, Perpignan travel to Clermont, Oyonnax journey to Brive while Bayonne host Castres.
At the other end of the tree, Toulon sit pretty at the top of the table after their nearest challengers Montpellier and Clermont both lost. Clermont Auvergne fell 22-6 to Racing Metro in Paris with Juan Imhoff scoring the sole try of the game. Racing's other points came from Maxime Machenaud (11) and three points from Juan Martin Hernandez and three from Jonathan Sexton.
Montpellier fell to a 22-15 defeat to Castres on Friday. Montpellier looked the better side in a frenetic opening period and they led 9-6 midway through the first half. But Brice Dulin's try shortly before the break meant that Castres led 16-9 at half-time. A scrappy second-half produced little of note. Francois Trinh-Duc reduced the deficit to four points but Romain Teulet replied with two penalties to give Castres breathing space. Trinh-Duc had the final say of the game to a secure a losing bonus point but it was the reigning champions who emerged victorious.
Saturday's late game saw Stade Francais get the maximum haul against Bordeaux-Begles as they won 37-23 in Paris. The win sees them move into seventh place, the spot which would see Stade take part in a play-off against a side from the Aviva Premiership for the last spot in next season's European Rugby Champions Cup. Stade's tries came from Waisea Nayacalevu (two), Antoine Burban, Djibril Camara and Digby Ioane.
Montpellier fullback Pierre Berard is brought to a halt © Getty Images
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