Waisea rescues Stade Francais against Clermont

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 19:38
Large top 14   800

SATURDAY TOP 14 WRAP: A last-gasp Waisea Nayacalevu try rescued a 30-30 draw for Stade Francais as Clermont maintained their unbeaten start in a high intensity rematch of the 2015 Top 14 Final on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Fijian wing touched down his side's fourth try with Jules Plisson converting to leave Clermont with the same 30-30 scoreline as their season opener at La Rochelle.

Clermont, runners-up in the 2015 Final to Stade Francais, paid for Camille Lopez's missed conversion following a Fritz Lee try on 73 minutes.

The Parisians, beaten by Brive 28-20 last weekend after a 54-20 opening win over Grenoble, showed character as they fought back after letting slip a 20-6 lead at the half-hour mark.

"We should have made the break during the first 25 minutes," said Stade Francais coach Gonzalo Quesada.

"After that we were dominated on all levels by a great Clermont team. But we had an enormous finish - trailing by seven points it required great mental strength to go after the draw. It was 15 crazy guys who said we should give it a shot! And maybe with a little bit more control we could have got the win."

Geoffrey Doumayrou was the man at the centre of all the early action with two tries, the first after just four minutes, the second 12 minutes later with the centre then setting up Djibril Camara for a third on 26 minutes.

But Clermont did not panic, inflicting an unanswered 16 points on Stade Francais, including a Paul Jedrasiak try and two penalties off the boot of Morgan Parra.

French international back Scott Spedding (69) kicked Clermont ahead again in reply to a Plisson penalty on 61 minutes.

"In the first half we were more spectators than actors," said Clermont coach Franck Azema.

"There are things to improve but we're happy with the result given how we started.

"The team showed great maturity to get back into the game. Eight points after three away games is a good start."

Clermont can take heart from the performance of their largely revamped side that showed 11 changes from the team that won in Montpellier last week with a view to next Saturday's visit by Racing 92.

La Rochelle are top of the table after an impressive 26-18 victory at 2013 champions Castres.

The 2015 second division champions didn't win an away game all season in the last campaign but have now won two on the trot on their travels this term.

Australian flyhalf Zack Holmes kicked four penalties and two conversions while South African wing Paul Jordaan and centre Steeve Barry dotted down to condemn Castres, for whom Tongan flank Steve Mafie scored a try, to defeat.

Current second division champions Lyon earnt their first Top 14 success with a bonus-point 32-13 thumping of Grenoble.

Former Bath and Sale flank Carl Fearns scored two tries with fellow back-row forward Virgile Bruni and former Australian international flyhalf Mike Harris also getting over the whitewash, whilst kicking two conversions to boot.

South African international fullback Gio Aplon scored Grenoble's only try as they remained rock bottom after three straight defeats.

Pau got off the mark as New Zealand international flyhalf Colin Slade kicked 10 points in a 25-9 win over Bayonne.

Fellow All Black Tom Taylor scored a try, as did Irish No.8 James Coughlin and Fiji wing Watisoni Votu.

Three-time European champions Toulon play Brive in Saturday's late match while reigning Top 14 title-holders Racing entertain Toulouse on Sunday.


Stade Francais 30-30 Clermont 

Pau 25-9 Bayonne 

Castres 18-26 La Rochelle

Lyon 32-13 Grenoble

Agence France-Presse