Handre Pollard continued his fine start to life in the Top 14 by scoring 19 points with the boot to help Montpellier beat Brive 29-26 in round 13 of the tournament this weekend.
In an excellent performance off the tee, Pollard converted both Montpellier’s two tries and added five penalties to help his team claim a narrow victory and climb above Toulouse into sixth place on the table.
After a battling start on debut against Racing 92, Pollard seems to be adjusting to life in France and has already scored 44 points in three games for his new side. Also in action for Montpellier was hooker Bismarck du Plessis, lock Paul Willemse, No 8 Jacques du Plessis and centre Frans Steyn.
Brive, who remain in ninth place and trail Montpellier by six points, had Peet Marais at lock and Nico Lee at inside centre.
Elsewhere, Lyon survived a scare as they came from behind to beat Agen 13-12 after trailing 12-0 at the break. Locks Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen both played for Lyon, with Oosthuizen brought off the bench in the second half. Johann Sadie was at outside centre for Agen, who dropped to the bottom of the table after this weekend’s results. Lyon remain second, trailing Bordeaux by three points.
La Rochelle climbed into fourth place on the table after claiming a 44-13 bonus-point win against Pau. After tight first half La Rochelle went into the break 20-10 up, but the visitors scored three further tries to seal the match. Wiaan Liebenberg came off the bench for La Rochelle in the second half. Pau are five points above last-placed Agen and are quickly getting sucked into the relegation battle.
Toulon continued their excellent form with a 43-3 bonus-point thrashing of Castres, which kept the home side in third place and in pace with the top two. Hooker Jody Jenneker and centre Robert Ebersohn started for Castres, who are third from bottom on 23 points.
In the result of the weekend, Stade Francais climbed off the bottom of the table by comfortably beating defending champions Toulouse 30-18. James Hall put in an excellent performance at scrumhalf for the Parisians, who had won just three games up until this weekend. Cheslin Kolbe started at left wing for Toulouse, but struggled to be brought into the game before scoring a consolation try after the full-time hooter. Toulouse, who dropped to seventh place after the loss, also had Rynhardt Elstadt at flank.
James Hall had a brilliant game for Stade Francais yesterday.
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) January 6, 2020
Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images