Castres claimed a thrilling 26-25 win over Montpellier on the opening day of the 2019-20 French Top 14 campaign, while there were also wins for Lyon, Toulon, Bayonne, Bordeaux and Pau.
In the first high-profile game of the season, Castres hosted Montpellier in what proved to be a riveting contest between the long-time rivals.
Montellier scored two tries and a penalty to lead 17-12 at the break. Castres’ points came via the boot of scrumhalf Rory Kockott, who knocked over four penalties.
In a complete turnaround in the second half, Castres would seize control when Kockott’s compatriot Jody Jenneker barged over for their first try. And three further penalties from the replacement kicker secured a crucial win for Castres.
Elsewhere, Heyneke Meyer’s Stade Francais made a horrid start to their season when they slumped to a 43-9 defeat at the hands of Lyon, who ran in seven tries.
Lock Mamuka Gorgodze scored a brace as Toulon hammered Agen 44-25, competition newcomers Bayonne shocked Racing 24-17 to get their campaign off to a perfect start, Bordeaux upset defending champions Toulouse 30-25 and Pau overpowered Brive 35-14 in an ill-disciplined game during which both sides conceded a red card.
Round 1 results:
Castres 26 Montpellier 25
Lyon 43 Stade Francais 9
Agen 25 Toulon 44
Racing 17 Bayonne 24
Pau 35 Brive 14
Clermont vs La Rochelle