Mon, Oct 09, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Clermont, Toulouse narrow the gap on log-leaders Stade


Clermont and Toulouse closed the gap on runaway French rugby championship leaders Stade Francais on Saturday after the Paris giants had lost their 100-percent record.

Clermont stay in second spot in the standings, 12 points behind the leaders, after a 28-22 win at Bourgoin while Toulouse are third on points difference following their 40-34 win over Narbonne.

Champions Biarritz are fourth, a point further back, after a 25-10 triumph against Perpignan.

Flying winger Seremaia Baikeinuku scored both of Clermont's tries with Brock James kicking four penalties and a drop goal.

Toulouse and Narbonne shared six tries with the deadly boot of Jean-Baptiste Elissalde proving decisive with seven penalties.

Florian Fritz and Vincent Clerc crossed for Toulouse who were also awarded a penalty try while Narbonne's try scorers were Congo prop Guylain Mololo, who opened the scoring after just three minutes, centre Vincent Noutary and Adrien Plante.

Montauban breathed life into the title race on Friday when they handed Stade Francais their first defeat of the season.

Montauban's bruising 15-9 triumph brought to end the Paris giants' perfect run of nine wins in nine matches and also lifted themselves temporarily into second place in the table.

After Saturday's matches, they were back in fifth place.

All the points came from the boot.

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