Mon, Feb 20, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Shorthanded Racing 92 defeat Brive

LEAPING TO THE TOP:Clermont topped the league table on points difference with a 46-27 comprehensive six-try victory over Bayonne, bypassing La Rochelle

AFP, PARIS

Brive’s Nicolas Bezy, right, tackles Racing 92’s So’otala Fa’aso’o, center, in their French Top 14 match in Colombes, France, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Racing 92 on Saturday put Dan Carter’s drunk driving shock behind them with a 33-25 win over Brive in the French Top 14 as Clermont grabbed pole position after a 46-27 victory over rock-bottom Bayonne.

Defending champions Racing maintained their unbeaten home record, despite dealing with the fallout from All Blacks legend Carter being pulled over for drunk driving in Paris on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old two-time World Cup winner, who apologized for his “massive error of judgement,” was injured and absent on Saturday as he took a break in his native New Zealand.

Racing were also without Eddy Ben Arous, Camille Chat, Bernard le Roux and Maxime Machenaud, all away on Six Nations duty, as well as flyhalves Carter, Benjamin Dambielle and Remi Tales and scrumhalf Xavier Chauveau.

Despite the absentees, they were quickly into their stride, with Gerbrandt Grobler grabbing a 14th-minute try with two penalties from James Hart giving them an 11-0 lead.

Brive then stunned the champions, as Sevanaia Galala and Karlen Asieshvili scored tries for a 15-13 lead.

Lock forward Leone Nakarawa restored Racing’s lead with the first of two tries in the 47th minute before adding his second 18 minutes later for a 30-18 advantage.

Guillaume Ribes scored a consolation try for Brive at the death.

“We knew that this would be a complicated day, as every year Brive pose us problems,” Racing backs coach Laurent Labit said.

Clermont lead the standings on points difference after their six-try, 46-27 win over Bayonne allowed them to leapfrog La Rochelle, who earlier downed Stade Francais 37-18.

Clermont had the game wrapped up by halftime, building up a 29-0 lead thanks to scores from Aurelien Rougerie, a brace from Charlie Cassang and Damien Penaud.

Judicael Cancoriet and skipper Alexandre Lapandry secured the bonus-point triumph at the last minute.

“The first half was perfect to be 29-0 ahead, but in the second half we gave away two tries, both on interceptions, that’s 14 easy points which gave Bayonne a new lease of life,” Clermont boss Franck Azema said. “But I was satisfied in how we reacted after that, the way we scored a bonus point while we were under pressure.”

Three-time European champions Toulon were third, 12 points behind Clermont and La Rochelle, after a 31-17 win over Lyon.

A penalty try and a score from Fijian Olympic Games gold medalist Josua Tuisova saw Toulon reach the interval at 17-17.

However, second-half tries from Juan Smith and Bryan Habana, both converted by Matt Giteau, saw Toulon home.

Unheralded Pau are fifth after beating Grenoble 39-22 for a sixth successive win, with All Blacks flyhalf Colin Slade excelling with the boot for 24 points.

La Rochelle were made to struggle for their victory against Stade and would have been in deeper trouble without Brock James, the veteran Australian flyhalf who booted 22 points from six penalties and two conversions.

“The context of the game was strange, coming as it did after a two-week break,” said La Rochelle coach Patrice Collazo, whose team failed to secure a bonus point. “Stade Francais came with a very strong squad and when we saw their team on Friday we said that it would be complicated.”

La Rochelle scored tries from New Zealand No. 8 Victor Vito, Jules Le Bail and Levani Botia.

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