Clermont edge past Grenoble
August 16, 2014
Clermont's Nick Abendanon tries to get through Grenoble's defence © Getty Images
Clermont had it far from easy in their opening match of the Top 14 season as they beat Grenoble 30-26 at Stade Marcel Michelin.
Clermont outscored Grenoble three tries to two but the boot of Jonathan Wisniewski kept the scoreboard ticking over for the away side as he finished the match with 16 points. For Clermont, they handed debuts to new backs Nick Abendanon and Zac Guildford but it was prop Clement Ric who opened the scoring for them after just five minutes. And they soon put another on the scoreboard when Damien Chouly crossed in the 10th minute.
Grenoble, however, refused to lie down and Ratu Ratini's remarkable try in the 20th minute kept them hot on Clermont's heels. In a nip-and-tuck affair, Clermont then added to their advantage with Julien Bardy scoring but Fabien Gengenbacher crossed before half-time to make it 24-20 at the break.
The second-half was a tighter affair with neither team able to make a dent over the try line but Brock James and Wisniewski continued their battle from the tee contributing six points each.
Elsewhere, Stade Francais earned a shock 25-22 win over last year's runners-up Castres thanks to Djibril Camara's last-gasp try.
In a match played in Beziers, it was a first home Top 14 defeat for Castres in more than a season.
Stade Francais took an early 11-3 lead with veteran winger Julien Arias going over but Geoffrey Palis' kicking put Castres 12-11 ahead at half-time.
Palis added another after the break before flanker Mathieu Ugena's try moved Stade Francais back in front. Winger Romain Martial looked to have given Castres the win after crossing with nine minutes to go, but Camara then went over to snatch victory.
Meanwhile, Bordeaux saw off Top 14 newcomers Lyon 18-9 in a tryless encounter in Begles.
Lyon took an early 6-0 lead thanks to two penalties from new man Stephen Brett, but Bordeaux wiped out the deficit by half-time with two of their own from Pierre Bernard, who added two more soon after the restart.
Lionel Beauxis then took over kicking duties for Bordeaux and added two more penalties either side of one from Lachie Munro.
Oyonnax were within minutes of a famous victory at Toulouse before eventually losing out 20-19 as Toby Flood enjoyed a debut to remember by scoring all of Toulouse's points.
Flood went over after just eight minutes before kicking five penalties, the last coming five minutes from time.
Brive went top after a 37-15 bonus-point win at home to promoted side La Rochelle, with Gaetan Germain, Alfie Mafi, Thomas Laranjeira and Sevanaia Galala all going over for the hosts.
Racing Metro won 19-16 at Montpellier thanks to a 45-metre penalty from Jonny Sexton in the 79th minute.
Sexton, who also set up Alexandre Dumoulin's try in the first half and kicked 11 points overall, had drawn Racing level in the 74th minute with a penalty from wide on the right.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
All the action from Saturday's Top 14 clashes
Former Toyota, Sauber and Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi will race for Team LeMans in the Japanese Super Formula series in 2015
Andy Carroll has hit back at Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and claimed his former boss "messed with his head" during his time at Anfield
Rory McIlroy will take a four-shot lead into the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic after the world No.1 confidently moved clear of the rest of the field on Saturday
While the world watches and waits to see if Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. finally, at long last, make a deal for their long-awaited showdown, one man waits with perhaps more interest than anyone: Amir Khan