Montpellier put pressure on Clermont as Toulon record big win

Montpellier's Australian scrum-half Nic White (C) runs with the ball during the French Top 14 match between Montpellier and La Rochelle. PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images

A Ben Botica penalty three minutes into stoppage time saw Montpellier record a 12-11 victory over La Rochelle.

Uini Atonio scored the only try of the game for the visitors four minutes in. Francois Steyn's scored three penalties for Montpellier, but the visitors led 11-9 at the break with Brock James kicking two penalties, his second on the stroke of half-time.

That was how it remained until injury-time when Brock James' 50 metre penalty attempt fell short, only for La Rochelle's Charles Bouldoire to deliberately throw the ball dead. The referee went to the TMO and awarded Montpellier a penalty which Botica dispatched to secure victory.

Clermont continued their good run of form after a 40-16 victory away to Brive. Charlie Cassang, Noa Nakaitaci and Patricio Fernandez scored tries in the opening half, and Fernandez added his second in the final quarter-hour in a convincing win for Clermont who conceded their only try after Sitaleki Timani was sin-binned in the second-half.

Bayonne had three players sin-binned as they fell to a 16-3 defeat at home to Racing 92.

The hosts -- who had Tom Donnelly (35 minutes), Lorenzo Cittadini (42) and Kade Poki (51) all yellow carded -- took the lead through a Willie du Plessis' penalty 26 minutes in.

But their indiscipline and two missed kicks from du Plessis saw them punished, with Maxime Machenaud scoring three penalties and converting Juan Imhoff's try with 10 minutes to go to secure the win for Racing.

The visitors saw Johan Goosen and Wenceslas Lauret sin binned in what turned out to be a scrappy affair.

Toulouse kicked off Round 9's action with gutsy 24-20 win over Pau at Stade du Hameau.

Pau led 20-17 with 13 minutes remaining, only for Toulouse second-row Joe Tekori to score to seal the result for the visitors.

Jean Marc Doussain had an afternoon to remember with the boot as he kicked a conversion, three penalties and a dropped goal.

Toulon are up to third after a convincing 42-12 win over Grenoble at Stade Félix Mayol.

The French glamour club were slow out of the blocks, and only led 8-5 after half an hour.

Mathieu Bastareaud, Mamuka Gorgodze, Jocelino Suta and Axel Muler got on the score sheet in Mike Ford's first game in charge, while referee Pierre Brousset awarded Toulon two penalty tries.

Stade Francais had the boot of Morne Steyn and Jules Plisson to thank in a 25-19 victory over Lyon.

Steyn converted Waisea Nayacalevu's third minute penalty and added three further penalties to give them a 16-13 first-half lead. Baptiste Couilloud crossed for Lyon five minutes before the break but could only manage two Mike Harris penalties in the second-half as Steyn (one) and Plisson (two) kicked Stade to victory.