Lyon consolidated their position at the top of the standings after thrashing Oyonnax and Pau, Racing 92 and Clermont also claimed wins.
Lyon 52-18 Oyonnax
Pau 16-22 Montpellier
Racing 92 29-13 Bordeaux-Bègles
Clermont Auvergne 33-10 Stade Francais
Lyon 52-18 Oyonnax
Matmut Stadium de Gerland, Lyon
Outstanding scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud touched down twice as Lyon maintained their position at the top of the table after a dominant 52-18 triumph over Oyonnax.
The strugglers initially gave a good account of themselves, going 10-up at the end of the first quarter thanks to Ben Botica, who scored a try, conversion and penalty.
Pierre Mignoni’s men hit back, however, and were ahead by the interval when Alexis Palisson and Couilloud crossed the whitewash.
Although Lionel Beauxis and Jeremy Gondrand traded penalties at the start of the second half, leaders Lyon began to increase the tempo.
Adrien Buononato’s side duly failed to cope as quick-fire efforts from Toby Arnold and Couilloud put them out of the visitors’ reach.
Quentin Etienne was then yellow carded for Oyonnax and Stephane Clement, Delon Armitage and Dylan Cretin duly completed the win, despite Curtis Browning’s late consolation.
Tries: Palisson, Couilloud 2, Arnold, Clement, Armitage, Cretin
Cons: Beauxis 7
Yellow Card: Lambey
Tries: Botica, Browning
Pens: Botica, Gondrand
Yellow Cards: Ursache, Etienne
Lyon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Toby Arnold, 13 Theo Belan, 12 Thibaut Regard, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Lionel Beauxis, 9 Baptiste Couilloud, 8 Virgile Bruni, 7 Deon Fourie, 6 Julien Puricelli, 5 Hendrik Roodt, 4 Felix Lambey, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Albertus Buckle
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Dylan Cretin, 20 Jonathan Pelissie, 21 Rudi Wulf, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Stephane Clement
Oyonnax: 15 Quentin Etienne, 14 Daniel Ikpefan, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Matt Hopper, 11 Dug Codjo, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Jeremy Gondrand, 8 Viliami Ma’afu, 7 Rory Grice, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 Valentin Ursache, 4 Phoenix Battye, 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Tommy Raynaud
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Geledan, 17 Khatchik Vartanov, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Shay Kerry, 20 James Hall, 21 Ulupano Seuteni, 22 Silvere Tian, 23 Pietro Ceccarelli
Referee: Jonathan Dufort
Assistant referees: Tual Trainini, Akin Hadj-Bachir
TMO: Laurent Sclafer
Pau 16-22 Montpellier
Stade du Hameau, Pau
A superb first half display was the catalyst as Montpellier re-found their form following an excellent 22-16 victory over fellow play-off hopefuls Pau.
Having lost successive games in the Champions Cup, Vern Cotter sought a response from his charges and they duly delivered, going 15-3 up.
Nemani Nadolo, as Exeter Chiefs found out last week, is almost impossible to stop and the wing got the visitors off to an ideal start.
Tom Taylor and Benoit Paillaugue then traded penalties before Cotter’s men put together another incisive attack which ended in Joe Tomane touching down.
Although Taylor kicked his second three-pointer for the hosts, Louis Picamoles appeared to have secured the victory when the no. 8 powered over from close range.
However, Pau improved significantly and got themselves back into the contest via Jale Vatubua’s excellently worked try and another Taylor effort off the tee but, despite a late yellow card for Konstantine Mikautadze, Montpellier held on.
Pens: Taylor 3
Tries: Nadolo, Tomane, Picamoles
Cons: Paillaugue 2
Yellow Card: Mikautadze
Pau: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Bastien Pourailly, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Thibault Daubagna, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Pierrick Gunther, 6 Daniel Ramsay, 5 Dave Foley, 4 Fabrice Metz, 3 Malik Hamadache, 2 Laurent Bouchet, 1 Thomas Domingo
Replacements: 16 Quentin Lespiaucq, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Paddy Butler, 19 Sean Dougall, 20 Julien Tomas, 21 Florian Nicot, 22 Charly Malie, 23 Sylvain Charlet
Montpellier: 15 Timoci Nagusa, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Joe Tomane, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Benoit Paillaugue, 9 Enzo Sanga, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Julien Bardy, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Jacques du Plessis, 4 Nico Janse van Rensburg, 3 Antoine Guillamon, 2 Romain Ruffenach, 1 Yvan Watremez
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Mikheil Nariashvili, 18 Konstantine Mikautadze, 19 Kelian Galletier, 20 Thomas Darmon, 21 Julien Delannoy, 22 Joffrey Michel, 23 Davit Kubriashvili
Referee: Cyril Lafon
Assistant referees: Mathieu Delpy, Arnaud Blondel
TMO: Denis Grenouillet
Racing 92 29-13 Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes
Racing 92 overcame a red card for wing Virimi Vakatawa to get their domestic season back on track with an impressive 29-13 triumph over Bordeaux-Bègles.
Vakatawa was sent-off for a dangerous tackle with the hosts 8-7 down thanks to Simon Hickey’s penalty and Nans Ducuing’s try.
However, it seemed to inspire the Parisians who reacted superbly and dominated the tight exchanges. All their tries in the second period came through their forwards as Bordeaux failed to deal with their opponents’ physicality.
UBB did extend their advantage after 42 minutes via Matthieu Jalibert, but Racing began to assert their authority and Camille Chat added to Teddy Thomas’ earlier try to take them into the lead.
Edwin Maka and Chat then touched down to secure the victory before an ill-tempered game was marred by two further sending offs for Manuel Carizza and Sebastien Taofifenua.
Tries: Thomas, Chat 2, Maka
Cons: Machenaud 3
Yellow Card: Iribaren
Red Cards: Vakatawa, Carizza
Tries: Ducuing, Jalibert
Yellow Card: Dubie
Red Card: Taofifenua
Racing: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Anthony Tuitavake, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Remi Tales, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Edwin Maka, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Viliamu Afatia
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Manuel Carizza, 19 Yannick Nyanga, 20 Teddy Iribaren, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 Joe Rokocoko, 23 Cedate Gomes Sa
Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Matthieu Jalibert, 14 Nans Ducuing, 13 Jean-Baptiste Dubie, 12 Metuisela Talebula, 11 Fa’asiu Fuatai, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Mahamadou Diaby, 5 Cyril Cazeaux, 4 Johan Aliouat, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Clement Maynadier, 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Adrien Pelissie, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Pierre Gayraud, 19 Leroy Houston, 20 Gauthier Doubrere, 21 Apisai Naqalevu, 22 Jean-Pascal Barraque, 23 Marc Clerc
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz
Assistant referees: Cedric Clave, Bruno Gabaldon
TMO: Laurent Cardona
Clermont Auvergne 33-10 Stade Français
Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand
Alivereti Raka continued his fine form to help Clermont Auvergne defeat Stade Francais 33-10 and move closer to the play-off places.
Franck Azema’s men once again struggled for fluency throughout but, in the Fijian-born wing, they have one of the most dangerous players in Europe and he pounced on a defensive error by the visitors to score their only try in the first half.
Credit must go to Stade, who put in a much improved display after being embarrassed by London Irish last week, but they were eventually overpowered by Les Jaunards.
Morgan Parra opened the scoring off the tee for the hosts before Raka showed excellent anticipation and strength to extend their lead.
Although Morne Steyn kept Greg Cooper’s team in the contest with a penalty, successive Parra three-pointers towards the end of the first half meant that Auvergne went into the break 16-3 ahead.
Much like the opening to the game, Clermont started the second period on the front foot and, after Siegfried Fisiihoi had been sin-binned, referee Romain Poite awarded the home side a penalty try as their scrum marched towards the line.
Charl McLeod gave Stade some hope going into the latter stages but Parra and Fritz Lee extinguished any thoughts of a comeback.
Tries: Raka, penalty try, Lee
Cons: Parra 2
Pens: Parra 4
Yellow Cards: Steenkamp, Fisiihoi
Clermont: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 David Strettle, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Dorian Lavernhe, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Camille Gerondeau, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray, 17 Etienne Falgoux, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Viktor Kolelishvili, 20 Charlie Cassang, 21 Isaia Toeava, 22 Aurelien Rougerie, 23 Davit Zirakashvili
Stade: 15 Tony Ensor, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Waisea Nayacalevu, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Marvin O’Connor, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Arthur Coville, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Charlie Francoz, 6 Steevy Cerqueira, 5 Alexandre Flanquart, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Remi Bonfils, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp
Replacements: 16 Maxime Gau, 17 Siegfried Fisiihoi, 18 Mathieu De Giovanni, 19 Bakary Meite, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Jules Plisson, 22 Jimmy Yobo, 23 Lorenzo Cittadini
Referee: Romain Poite
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre, Jean-Claude Labarbe
TMO: Pierre Brousset