Mon, Sep 25, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Stade Francais stay on top

AFP , PARIS

Stade Francais flanker Remy Martin is tackled by a Bourgoin player during a French top 14 rugby union match at the Jean Bouin stadium in Paris on Saturday.

PHOTO: AFP

Stade Francais consolidated their position at the top of the French league table with a seventh win out of a possible seven this season, a convincing 41-27 mauling of Bourgoin.

The high-rolling Parisians' success was based on the excellent form of the returning David Skrela, the outside-half notching up 19 points with his trusty boot.

Bourgoin made it hard for Stade in the first half, but the Paris side ended up bagging a crucial bonus point in the four try to two run-out.

Skrela, whose season was cut short last year through injury, stepped up into the shoes of youngster Lionel Beauxis -- who had a 100 percent record in Stade's previous two games -- with ease, hitting six out of seven attempts at goal.

"Oustanding effort by David!" Stade coach Fabrice Landreau said. "He knew how to take the team forward when they were under pressure up front."

Stade took a 16-12 lead into half-time after a try from full-back Julien Arias.

Bourgoin were kept in the reckoning thanks to Skrela's counterpart Benjamin Boyet, who knocked over five penalties and converted David Janin's try in the 65th minute.

There was a second try for the visitors through back row forward Wessel Jooste with four minutes to play but by that stage Stade's Italian No. 8 Sergio Parisse and Argentinian winger Igancio Corleto had both crossed for five-pointers.

Corleto scored his second on the stroke of full-time to hand Stade a bonus point.

Defending French champions Biarritz surged into second place in the table, 10 points adrift of Stade, with a 20-6 win over Albi.

Perpignan's 24-13 win over Brive secured them third spot, like Biarritz also with five wins and two losses from the seven games played so far this season.

The result left Brive, however, at the other end of the table with just one win. Narbonne, one place above Brive, suffered a 43-0 mauling at the hands of a resurgent Clermont.

Other results saw Agen beat Montauban 13-9 in an error-ridden game and bottom club Bayonne continue their winless ways in going 39-15 down to Castres.

Clermont moved into fourth place above former three-time European champions Toulouse, who were Friday held to a tryless 9-9 draw at Montpellier.

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