Round One of the 2016/17 Top 14 season, as Bordeaux-Bègles, Castres, Stade Français and Toulouse all claimed impressive wins.
Bordeaux-Bègles 15-9 Racing 92
Castres 28-11 Pau
La Rochelle 30-30 Clermont
Lyon 15-15 Brive
Stade Français 54-20 Grenoble
Toulouse 20-12 Montpellier
Bordeaux-Bègles 15-9 Racing 92
Stade Chaban Delmas, Bordeaux
Bordeaux-Bègles got their campaign off to a fine start when they claimed a hard-fought 15-9 victory over the defending champions.
As the scoreline suggests, this was a closely-fought battle and neither side managed to cross the whitewash. Bordeaux’s hero was their fly-half, Ireland international, Ian Madigan who scored all their points via five penalties.
Madigan and Racing pivot, former All Black, Dan Carter traded penalties throughout and the home side held a narrow 6-3 lead at half-time.
The goalkicking duel comtinued after the interval with Madigan adding three more penalties and Carter succeeded with two from the kicking tee.
Bordeaux suffered a setback shortly before full-time when Louis-Benoit Madaule received a red card for a dangerous tackle but by then they had secured the result already.
Pens: Madigan 5
Red Card: Maudule
For Racing 92:
Pens: Carter 3
Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Nans Ducuing, 13 Jean-Baptiste Dubie, 12 Romain Lonca, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Loann Goujon, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Louis-Benoit Madaule, 5 Jan Andre Marais, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Ronan Chambord, 1 Sebastien Taofifenua
Replacements: 16 Benat Auzqui, 17 Jefferson Poirot, 18 Cyril Cazeaux, 19 Hugh Chalmers, 20 Baptiste Serin, 21 Lionel Beauxis, 22 Julien Rey, 23 Marc Clerc
Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Albert Vulivuli, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 James Hart, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Olivier Missoup, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Viliamu Afatia
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Julien Brugnaut, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Thibault Dubarry, 20 Xavier Chauveau, 21 Benjamin Dambielle, 22 Casey Laulala, 23 Luc Ducalcon
Referee: Pascal Gauzère
Castres 28-11 Pau
Stade Pierre Antoine, Castres
The home side had to dig deep to claim victory as they played most of the match with 14 men after Rory Kockott was red carded for foul play.
Kockott received his marching orders for stamping on the ankle of Julien Tomas midway through the first half shortly after Pau took the lead via a Jale Vatubu try.
Earlier, Benjamin Urdapilleta had opened the scoring with a penalty, inside the first 10 minutes, for Castres. Urdapilleta added another penalty in the 27th minute before Alex Tulou scored Castres’ opening try 10 minutes later and Colin Slade added a three-pointer of his own just before half-time.
Castres upped the ante in the second half and sealed the win through tries from Thomas Combezou on the hour mark and Eric Sione in the 69th minute, after Urdapilleta and Brandon Fajardo traded penalties earlier in the half.
Tries: Tulou, Combezou, Sione
Cons: Urdapilleta 2
Pens: Urdapilleta 3
Red Card: Kockott
Pens: Slade, Fajardo
Yellow Card: Boundjema
Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Julien Caminati, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 David Smith, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Alexandre Bias, 6 Mathieu Babillot, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Loic Jacquet, 3 Damien Tussac, 2 Brice Mach, 1 Mihaita Lazar
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Eric Sione, 18 Thibault Lassalle, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Antoine Dupont, 21 Julien Dumora, 22 Florian Vialelle, 23 Antoine Tichit
Pau: 15 Charly Malie, 14 Watisoni Votu, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Jale Vatubua, 11 Mosese Ratuvou, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Julien Tomas, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Paddy Butler, 6 Ibrahim Diarra, 5 Julien Pierre, 4 Masalosalo Tutaia, 3 Sylvain Charlet, 2 Thomas Bianchin, 1 Jeremy Hurou
Replacements: 16 Mehdi Boundjema, 17 Chris King, 18 Fabrice Metz, 19 Steffon Armitage, 20 Thibault Daubagna, 21 Brandon Fajardo, 22 Louis Dupichot, 23 Malik Hamadache
Referee: Sébastien Minery
La Rochelle 30-30 Clermont
Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle
A superb fightback helped La Rochelle to secure a deserved draw after Clermont had raced in to a 24-10 lead at half-time.
Although Gabriel Lacroix scored the first try of the match, Clermont struck back with five-pointers from Noa Nakaitaci, Arthur Iturria and David Strettle during the opening period.
But the home side didn’t surrender and a penalty try, early in the second half, a further five-pointer from Ricky Januarie and the goalkicking of former Clermont stalwart Brock James, who finished with a 13-point haul thanks to three penalties and two conversions, helped La Rochelle to gain something from this clash.
Two Morgan Parra penalties were the only points scored by Clermont during the second half although three-pointers from James and Zac Holmes kept La Rochelle in the match during the second half.
For La Rochelle:
Tries: Lacroix, Penalty try, Januarie
Cons: James 2, Holmes
Pens: James 3
Tries: Nakaitaci, Iturria, Strettle
Cons: Parra 3
Pens: Parra 3
La Rochelle: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Zack Holmes, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Vincent Rattez, 10 Brock James, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Afaesetiti Amosa, 7 Zeno Kieft, 6 Romain Sazy, 5 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Maxime Gau, 1 Vincent Pelo
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Lekso Kaulashvili, 18 Leandro Cedaro, 19 Kevin Gourdon, 20 Arthur Retiere, 21 Anthony Fuertes, 22 Romaric Camou, 23 Mohamed Boughanmi
Clermont: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 David Strettle, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Peceli Yato, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Camille Gerondeau, 5 Arthur Iturria, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray, 17 Etienne Falgoux, 18 Sitaleki Timani, 19 Fritz Lee, 20 Enzo Sanga, 21 Patricio Fernandez, 22 Aurelien Rougerie, 23 Clement Ric
Referee: Adrien Descottes
Lyon 15-15 Brive
Matmut Stadium, Lyon
These two sides had to settle for the draw with all the points coming from the boot of Frederic Michalak and Gaetan Germain.
Brive made the brighter start and raced into a 9-0 lead thanks to early three-pointers from Germain before Michalak landed his first penalty in the 23rd minute.
Brive were dealt a blow when Teddy Iribaren was yellow carded in the 26th minute and Michalak added two further penalties which meant the sides were level at 9-9 at the break.
The second half saw the two goalkickers trading further penalties although Lyon held a 15-12 lead when Chris Tuatara-Morrison was yellow carded for a high tackle.
Lyon didn’t add any further points although Germain secured the draw in the 76th minute shortly after David Attoub also received a yellow card for foul play.
Pens: Michalak 5
Yellow Card: Attoub
Pens: Germain 3
Yellow Cards: Tuatara-Morrison, Iribaren
Lyon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Toby Arnold, 13 Hemani Paea, 12 Theo Belan, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Agustin Figuerola, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Virgile Bruni, 6 Julien Puricelli, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Taiasina Tuifua, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Mickael Ivaldi, 1 Alexandre Menini
Replacements: 16 Ti’i Paulo, 17 Stephane Clement, 18 Thibault Privat, 19 Maselino Paulino, 20 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 21 Napolioni Nalaga, 22 Julien Bonnaire, 23 David Attoub
Brive: 15 Gaetan Germain, 14 Sevenaia Galala, 13 Arnaud Mignardi, 12 Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 11 Benito Masilevu, 10 Matthieu Ugalde, 9 Teddy Iribaren, 8 Fabien Sanconnie, 7 Poutasi Luafutu, 6 Petrus Gherardus Hauman, 5 Peet Marais, 4 Julien Ledevedec, 3 Damien Jourdain, 2 Guillaume Ribes, 1 Karlen Asieshvili
Replacements: 16 Francois Da Ros, 17 Lucas Pointud, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Said Hireche, 20 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 21 Thomas Laranjeira, 22 Benjamin Lapeyre, 23 Patrick-Albert Toetu
Referee: Thomas Charabas
Stade Français 54-20 Grenoble
Stade Jean Bouin, Paris
After a rough 2015/2016 campaign this was more like it for 2015 champions Stade Français, as they ran four tries past Grenoble for a bonus point win.
Paul Williams got things started after taking a quick penalty, converted by Plisson whose penalty soon after gave the hosts a 10-0 lead.
Plisson and Gilles Bosch traded further penalties with matters made worse for the visitors before the break as their scrum struggled, Sona Taumalolo heading to the bin as Plisson added two more penalties for a 19-3 half-time lead.
It was the same story after the break as Plisson struck again before Grenoble crossed for their first and only try, Gio Aplon finishing off a two-on-one with Bosch converting to make it 22-10.
But Plisson was the dominant force, kicking Stade ahead to a 28-13 lead before Remi Bonfils, Clement Daguin and Hugh Pyle and Waisea Nayacalevu all scoring late on for a convincing win, with Plisson finishing with an impressive eleven out of eleven kicks.
For Stade Français:
Tries: Williams, Bonfils, Daguin, Pyle, Nayacalevu
Cons: Plisson 4
Pens: Plisson 7
Yellow Card: Nicolas
Tries: Aplon 2
Cons: Bosch, Wisniewski
Pens: Bosch 2
Yellow Cards: Taumalolo, Dardet
Stade Français: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 Ratu Ratini, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Paul Williams, 11 Waisea Nayacalevu, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Sylvain Nicolas, 6 Antoine Burban, 5 Paul Gabrillagues, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Laurent Sempere, 1 Sakaria Taulafo
Replacements: 16 Remy Bonfils, 17 Zurabi Zhvania, 18 Alexandre Flanquart, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Clement Daguin, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Jeremy Sinzelle, 23 Rabah Slimani
Grenoble: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Lucas Dupont, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Armand Batlle, 10 Gilles Bosch, 9 Lilian Saseras, 8 Dylan Hayes, 7 Peter Kimlin, 6 Jonathan Best, 5 Aly Muldowney, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Ali Oz, 2 Loick Jammes, 1 Sona Taumalolo
Replacements: 16 Laurent Bouchet, 17 Alexandre Dardet, 18 Mathias Marie, 19 Fabien Alexandre, 20 David Mele, 21 Jonathan Wisniewski, 22 Sisa Waqa, 23 Walter Desmaison
Referee: Laurent Cardona
Toulouse v Montpellier
Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse
Ugo Mola’s Toulouse made a major statement by defeating title contenders Montpellier on the opening day, outscoring the visitors by two tries to zero.
New Montpellier signing Ben Botica opening the scoring with a penalty before Toulouse scored the first try, Alexis Palisson finishing off an overlap after build-up play from Jean-Marc Doussain.
Botica cut the lead with a penalty and Toulouse then lost Florian Fritz to the sin-bin for tripping Bismarck du Plessis. With Toulouse down to 14, Gael Fickou (surprisingly) and Botica traded penalties to make it 10-9, which remained the score at half-time.
After the break Botica and Sébastien Bézy both added penalties before Fritz crashed over for the key try, Bézy converting for a 20-12 advantage in the 54th minute.
The rest of the half remained scoreless, with Toulouse crucially denying Montpol a losing a bonus point.
Tries: Palisson, Fritz
Cons: Bézy 2
Pens: Fickou, Bézy
Yellow Card: Fritz
Pens: Botica 4
Toulouse: 15 Yoann Huget, 14 Paul Perez, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Jean Marc Doussain, 9 Sebastien Bezy, 8 Talalelei Gray, 7 Piula Faasalele, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp
Replacements: 16 Julien Marchand, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Joe Tekori, 19 Gregory Lamboley, 20 Samuel Marques, 21 Yann David, 22 Sofiane Guitoune, 23 Dorian Aldegheri
Montpellier: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Alexandre Dumoulin, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Nic White, 8 Akapusi Qera, 7 Kelian Galletier, 6 Wian Liebenberg, 5 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 4 Konstantin Mikautadze, 3 Davit Kubriashvili, 2 Bismarck Du Plessis, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Arno van Wyk, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Paul Willemse, 19 Pierre Spies, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Demetri Catrakilis, 22 Vincent Martin, 23 Gagi Bazadze
Referee: Mathieu Raynal