Top 14 Round one review: Toby Flood stars for Toulouse, Stade stun Castres
Last Updated: 16/08/14 11:54pm
A review of Saturday's games in Round One of the Top 14.
Stade Toulousain 20-19 Oyonnax
Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse
Former England fly-half Toby Flood made a memorable Top 14 debut for Toulouse, scoring all their points in a 20-19 victory over Oyonnax.
The 29-year-old 60-cap international joined Toulouse from Leicester this season and took just eight minutes to make his mark for his new club when he went over for a try.
Although he missed the conversion he added a penalty in the 19th minute for 8-0.
Flood's penalty was the only score for Toulouse with Oyonnax down to 14 men as lock Thibaut Lassalle was sin-binned in the 15th minute.
The hosts themselves were reduced to 14 men in the 22nd minute when France flanker Yannick Nyanga was also sin-binned just nine minutes after he had come on for the injured Yacouba Camara.
Oyonnax made them pay as their Argentinina international fly-half Benjamin Urdapilleta slotted over the resulting penalty and then the 28-year-old converted prop Soane Tonga'uiha's try on the half hour mark.
Flood gave Toulouse the lead again when he added a penalty but right on the stroke of half-time Urdapilleta landed one of his own to give the visitors the lead 13-11 at the break.
Toulouse went back in front seven minutes into the second-half as Flood punished Oyonnax for another infringement only for the lead to swing back to the visitors as the equally accurate boot of Urdapilleta found its mark again with just over 20 minutes remaining.
The duo's metronomic display with the boot continued as they exchanged further penalties with Oyonnax more than holding their own against a club whose budget dwarfs theirs.
However, a famous victory was denied them in the final minute as Flood slotted over a penalty.
"I am pretty proud of the players because they battled to the end," said Toulouse coach Guy Noves. "But I am also angry because sadly we lacked continuity."
Montpellier 16-19 Racing Metro
Round one Results
Bayonne 15-29 Toulon
Clermont 30-26 Grenoble
Bordeaux-Bègles 18-9 Lyon
Brive 37-15 La Rochelle
Castres 22-25 Stade Français
Toulouse 20-19 Oyonnax
Montpellier 16-19 Racing-Metro
Racing Metro broke the hearts of 14-man Montpellier with a narrow 19-16 victory in a thrilling encounter.
Montpellier looked dead and buried at the break, trailing 7-3 and having lost hooker Charles Geli to a red card for his involvement in a punch-up.
But Fabien Galthie's side fought back, and even led with ten minutes remaining, only for two late Jonathan Sexton penalties to give Racing the win - a cruel finale for the hosts.
Alexandre Dumoulin's try gave the visitors the advantage at half-time but shortly after the restart Montpellier took the lead thanks to two penalties from Francois Trinh-Duc.
Racing responded with a long-range drop goal from new recruit Johan Goosen, although the South African's effort seemed to drop short of the bar when view on slow-motion replays. Sexton then added a penalty
But Montpellier made a seemingly decisive move when Robert Ebersohn showed quick feet to beat two men before feeding the ball to Timoci Nagusa who sprinted over. Paillaugue's conversion stretched the lead to three.
The drama was not over, however, with Sexton's boot having the last word for Racing
Union Bordeaux-Begles 18-9 Lyon OU
Stade Andre Moga, Begles
Top 14 newcomers Lyon gave a good account of themselves but eventually came away with nothing in a tryless encounter with Bordeaux.
Lyon had made the better start, taking an early 6-0 lead thanks to two penalties from new man Stephen Brett, who arrived from Bayonne over the off-season.
However Bordeaux got back level before half-time with two penalties of their own through Pierre Bernard.
There was more of the same early in the second half with two more penalties from Bernard to stretch the Bordeaux lead to six points.
New signing Lionel Beauxis took over the kicking duties from Bernard, and added another three points with ten minutes to go, extending the lead to nine.
And while Lachie Munro gave Lyon some hope with a penalty eight minutes from time, Beauxis' second penalty sealed the win.
Brive 37-15 La Rochelle
Stade Amedee-Domenech, Brive-la-Gaillarde
Brive moved top of the table with a bonus-point success as they came to life in the second half of their clash with La Rochelle.
The promoted side had the better of the first half, and through the boot of Jean-Pascal Barraque and scrum-half Julien Audy they led 9-6 on the stroke of half-time.
However with the final move of the half, Brive finally broke the shackles, taking advantage of an interception to send Gaetan Germain over.
They had a two-man advantage at the time, with Peter Grant and Levani Botia both in the sin-bin.
The Germain try seemed to be the spark the home side needed, and they took control at the start of the second half with a second try from an up and under, Alfie Mafi on hand to touch down.
Grant returned to bring La Rochelle back to 14 men, but with a man advantage Brive scored their third try, Thomas Laranjeira this time the man to cross.
It was soon Brive's turn to be down a man, when skipper Arnaud Mela was given a ten-minute break, but the home side continued to dominate, adding another penalty through Germain.
La Rochelle began to fight back, with Audy and then Grant adding penalties to reduce the deficit to 15.
But another score from winger Sevanaia Galala ensured that Brive would pick a bonus-point victory.
Castres 22-25 Stade Francais
Stade de la Mediterranee, Béziers
Djibril Camara's late try was enough for Stade Français to beat Castres, a first home Top 14 defeat for last year's runners-up in more than a season.
In a game played in Béziers, Stade Français had the better of the early stages, taking an early 11-3 lead thanks to a try from veteran winger Julien Arias.
However the visitors' indiscipline was proving costly, with Geoffrey Palis deadly from the kicking tee to put Castres back in front 12-11 at the break.
He added another early in the second half, but Stade moved back in front with their second try of the afternoon through their young flanker Mathieu Ugena.
But with nine minutes remaining Castres got the try they were desperate for, with winger Romain Martial crossing.
That looked like being the winner, but Stade reacted once more, with Camara grabbing the decisive score to give the Parisians a perfect start to the season.