Montpellier stunned Clermont 19-15 in the French Top 14, while there were also wins for Brive, Grenoble, Racing, Castres, Toulouse and Toulon.
Following their humiliating European Champions Cup exit, Clermont’s bad run continued when they slumped to an unexpected defeat against Montpellier, with the result moving Jake White’s side closer to a play-off spot.
In a closely fought opening 30 minutes, the teams were deadlocked at 3-3 after François Trinh-Duc’s drop goal for the winners was cancelled out by a Camille Lopez penalty. But when Marvin O’Connor grabbed a converted try combined with two quick-fire penalties, Montpellier headed into the break 16-3 up, much to the disgust of the Clermont supporters, who booed their team off the field.
The second half saw the hosts attempting a comeback with four penalties to close the deficit, but Demetri Catrakilis’s drop goal in between was enough to keep Montpellier in front until the final whistle.
Elsewhere, Gaetan Germain contributed 23 points to Brive’s 28-6 victory over La Rochelle. The competition’s top point-scorer goaled fourth penalties before La Rochelle responded with one of their own for a 12-3 scoreline, but Germain had the final say of the half when he knocked over another penalty before the break.
He followed that up with two more successful kicks at goal either side of a La Rochelle three-pointer, before replacement prop Karlen Asieshvili scored a late try to wrap up the win for Brive.
In a match marred by ill-discipline, Grenoble held on to beat Agen 33-27. Flank Rémy Vaquin and prop Sona Taumalolo came to blows in the 34th minute and both were red-carded for the scuffle. In the end Grenoble outscored their hosts three tries to two to win the game.
Dan Carter added 11 points, including his first try for Racing, as the Paris-based side lashed Oyonnax 26-3. Further tries by Juan Imhoff, Yannick Nyanga and Henry Chavancy secured the bonus point for Racing.
Castres claimed a morale-boosting 19-9 win against in-form Bordeaux at the Stade Pierre-Antoine. Flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta played a big role in the result with four penalties and a conversion for the winners.
Meanwhile, Toulouse returned to winning ways with 54-3 thrashing of Pau. The dominant hosts scored eight tries of which seven were converted, while Oyonnax only had a Colin Slade penalty to show for their efforts.
In the final match of the weekend, Toulon ousted the reigning champions, Stade Français, 23-16 at the Stade Mayol. Flyhalf Morné Steyn scored all Stade's points via a self-converted try and three penalties, before his Bok teammate Bryan Habana scored in the 12th minute to open Toulon's account, after some wonderful interplay between Quade Cooper and Ma'a Nonu. Toulon's forwards dominated thereafter and won several penalties, with scrumhalf Eric Escande knocking over six three-pointers to cap off an impressive display.
Round 13 results:
Clermont 15 Montpellier 19
Brive 28 La Rochelle 6
Agen 27 Grenoble 33
Paris 26 Oyonnax 3
Castres 19 Bordeaux 9
Toulouse 54 Oyonnax 3
Toulon 23, Stade Français 16
Photo: Thierry Zoccolan/AFP Photo