Oyonnax swamped by Flood
Sun, 17 Aug 2014 06:56
All the weekend's results and standings
England flyhalf Toby Flood made a memorable Top 14 debut for Toulouse, scoring all their points in a 20-19 victory over Oyonnax.
The 29-year-old - capped 60 times but who decided to end his England career to join Toulouse from Leicester for this season - took just eight minutes to make his mark for his new club when he went over for a try.
Although he missed the conversion he added a penalty in the 19th minute for 8-0.
Flood's penalty was the only score for Toulouse with Oyonnax down to 14 men as lock Thibaut Lassalle was sin-binned in the 15th minute.
The hosts themselves were reduced to 14 men in the 22nd minute when France flank Yannick Nyanga was also sin-binned just nine minutes after he had come on for the injured Yacouba Camara.
Oyonnax made them pay as their Argentinean international flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta slotted over the resulting penalty and then the 28-year-old converted prop Soane Tonga'uiha's try on the half hour mark.
Flood gave Toulouse the lead again when he added a penalty but right on the stroke of half-time Urdapilleta landed one of his own to give the visitors the lead 13-11 at the break.
Toulouse went back in front seven minutes into the second-half as Flood punished Oyonnax for another infringement only for the lead to swing back to the visitors as the equally accurate boot of Urdapilleta found its mark again with just over 20 minutes remaining.
The duo's metronomic display with the boot continued as they exchanged further penalties with Oyonnax more than holding their own against a club whose budget dwarfs theirs.
However, a famous victory was denied them in the final minute as Flood slotted over a penalty.
"I am pretty proud of the players because they battled to the end," said Toulouse coach Guy Noves. "But I am also angry because sadly we lacked continuity."
Elsewhere last season's beaten finalists Castres went down at home 22-25 to Stade Francais, while both the newly-promoted clubs Lyon and La Rochelle tasted defeat.
Lyon lost 9-18 to Bordeaux-Begles while La Rochelle can expect a tough season after being thumped 37-15 by Brive.
Clermont began life without coach Vern Cotter, who decamped to take over the Scottish national side, with a hard fought 30-26 win at home to Grenoble.
Now headed by Franck Azema and New Zealander Jono Gibbes, the former Leinster forwards coach, they showed no lack of adventure at home against Grenoble in perfect conditions, albeit displaying some defensive frailities.
Prop Clement Ric opened the scoring for the home side after crashing over from short range, Australian flyhalf Brock James kicking the extras.
Damien Chouly, who was named Clermont captain by the new coaching staff in place of France centre Aurelien Rougerie, scored his side's second after a perfect cross-kick by James, who also hit the conversion.
Grenoble hit back with a penalty by ex-Racing stand-off Jonathan Wizniewski and then scored a memorable try through Fijian winger Alipate Ratini, who touched down in the corner after some great interlinking play.
In a fast-moving match after James kicked a penalty the two sides swapped tries, Clermont's Julien Bardy crossing first before Grenoble fullback Fabien Gengenbacher went over.
However, Clermont just hung on to give the new coaching duo a winning start.
Last Friday, defending champions Toulon began life after Jonny Wilkinson with a battling 29-15 victory at Bayonne.
French Top 14 results:
Clermont 30 Grenoble 26
Toulouse 20 Oyonnax 19
Bordeaux 18 Lyon 9
Brive 37 La Rochelle 15
Castres 22 Stade Francais 25
Montpellier 16 Racing Metro 19
Bayonne 15 Toulon 29
French Top 14 table (played, won, drawn, lost, points for, points against, bonus points, total points):
Brive 1 1 0 0 37 15 1 5
Toulon 1 1 0 0 29 15 0 4
Bordeaux 1 1 0 0 18 9 0 4
Clermont 1 1 0 0 30 26 0 4
Stade Francais 1 1 0 0 25 22 0 4
Racing-Metro 1 1 0 0 19 16 0 4
Toulouse 1 1 0 0 20 19 0 4
Oyonnax 1 0 0 1 19 20 1 1
Montpellier 1 0 0 1 16 19 1 1
Castres 1 0 0 1 22 25 1 1
Grenoble 1 0 0 1 26 30 1 1
Lyon 1 0 0 1 9 18 0 0
Bayonne 1 0 0 1 15 29 0 0
La Rochelle 1 0 0 1 15 37 0 0
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