Montpellier battle past Castres

Montpellier edged Castres 22-19 in the Top 14, while there were also wins for Clermont, Racing, Pau and Bordeaux.

In a tense match at the Altrad Stadium, the hosts held their nerve to claim a slender victory for the second consecutive week.

A converted try either way cancelled each other out, but it was the kicking boots of Montpellier duo Demetri Catrakilis and Francois Trinh-Duc that set them apart. After the tries were scored, Catrakilis and Ben Urdapilleta traded two penalties apiece as the teams went into the break deadlocked at 13-13.

But Catrakilis had the final say in their personal battle with a third successful penalty at goal before both of them were substituted. Their replacements Trinh-Duc and Rory Kockott then exchanged penalties twice in a rather quiet second half, but in the end Catrakilis’s third penalty proved the difference as Jake White’s team maintained their winning ways.

Elsewhere, Clermont’s speedster Noa Nakaitaci scored a hat-trick in their 45-12 hammering of Grenoble. The winners crossed for six tries with scrumhalf Morgan Parra converting five and replacement kicker Brock James one.

Racing returned to the top of the log with a 38-13 win against Agen, with flank Bernard le Roux and lock Juandré Kruger both crossing the chalk to score for the winners, while Dan Carter slotted four conversions and a penalty; Pau added to Stade Français' woes when they beat the Paris-based side 19-12 at home; and Bordeaux ran out 48-20 victors against Oyonnax after wing Adam Ashley-Cooper scored a treble and prop Steven Kitshoff a brace in the seven-try demolition.

In the earlier game on Saturday, Brive drew 21-21 with Toulouse at home. Brive led by five in the final minute of the match, but former All Black Luke McAllister scored an 80th-minute try to equalise, but the conversion attempt was wide of the target and they had to settle for a share of the spoils.

On Sunday, La Rochelle host Toulon in the final game of the weekend.

Round 16 results:

Montpellier 22 Castres 19
Grenoble 12 Clermont 45
Racing 38 Agen 13
Pau 19 Stade Français 12
Bordeaux 48 Oyonnax 20
Brive 21 Toulouse 21

Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Getty Images

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