Montpellier clinch top spot

Montpellier thrashed Pau 45-13, while there were also wins for Toulon, Oyonnax, Agen and Stade Français in the penultimate round of the Top 14.

Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar combined to give Montpellier a 10-6 lead at the break, with the former scoring a try and the latter kicking the conversion and a penalty.

It was one-way traffic after the interval as the hosts ran in five more tries, including one each from hooker Bismarck du Plessis and lock Paul Willemse. To add insult to injury, Pienaar successfully kicked all the conversions for a perfect seven from seven record off the tee.

Elsewhere, Toulon scored eight tries in their 59-13 demolition of Castres at the Stade Mayol in the south of France. The win provisionally moved them up to second place in the standings.

Agen claimed a hard-fought 27-17 win against Clermont to avoid relegation altogether. They are now four log point clear of the relegation zone, meaning they’ve done enough to avoid the relegation playoff with the runners-up of the Pro D2 competition.

Relegation-threatened Oyonnax claimed a crucial 39-18 bonus-point win over the more fancied playoff contenders Lyon.

In the all-important bottom-of-the-table clash, Stade Français claimed a nervy 30-22 win over Brive. The result means Brive will finish last on the log, confirming their automatic relegation to the Pro D2. Three log points now separate the 12th-placed Stade and 13th-ranked Oyonnax. Whoever finishes 13th after round 26 will have to play in the relegation playoff.

Bordeaux host Racing 92 on Sunday, while La Rochelle travel to Toulouse to complete the round 25 fixtures.

Round 25 results:

Montpellier 45 Pau 13
Toulon 59 Castres 13
Agen 27 Clermont 17
Oyonnax 39 Lyon 18
Stade Français 30 Brive 22

Top 14 log

Photo: AFP/Photo

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Mariette Adams