Brive claim shock win at 'rubbish' Toulon
TOP 14 WRAP: Manager Diego Dominguez branded three-time European champions Toulon "rubbish" after they were stunned 25-21 at their Mayol fortress by minnows Brive in the Top 14.
Big-spending Toulon had lost only once at home in more than two years while Brive, who have the smallest budget in the league, had not triumphed at Mayol in more than a decade.
But Gaetan Germain kicked 20 points added to a penalty try to give the 1997 European champions - that success came in a different era - a famous victory.
"My primary feeling is pride in my group," said Brive coach Nicolas Godignon.
"We have the smallest budget in the Top 14 and, after two away trips, we've brought back six points [from a win and a draw]. It's difficult to dream of more."
Leigh Halfpenny went one better than Gaetan, kicking all of Toulon's points but it was a disjointed performance from the side that has reached the Top 14 Final in four of the last five seasons, albeit winning the title only once.
It left Brive heading an unlikely duo at the Top 14 summit ahead of unfashionable La Rochelle.
Toulon, for their part, are down in ninth after two defeats in their opening three matches and could even drop two more places before the weekend is up.
"The truth is we should have three defeats. Against three teams playing for survival we should have three defeats - that's the most worrying thing," moaned outspoken Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal.
Dominguez concurred: "The president is right, we were rubbish! We don't deserve to win."
In a slow-paced game, Toulon were unrecognisable from the all-conquering force that had dominated French and European rugby over the previous four years.
Brive took their chances and remained disciplined in the crucial moments, despite having two players sent to the sin bin, the same as their hosts.
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.
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, beaten finalists in 2015, paid for Camille Lopez's missed conversion following a Fritz Lee try on 73 minutes.
The Parisians showed character as they fought back after letting slip a 20-6 lead, after two tries from Geoffrey Doumayrou and one by Djibril Camara, to trail 30-23.
"We had an enormous finish - trailing by seven points it required great mental strength to go after the draw," said Stade coach Gonzalo Quesada.
"It was 15 crazy guys who said we should give it a shot!"
Clermont scored 16 unanswered points including a Paul Jedrasiak try but couldn't hold on.
"There are things to improve but we're happy with the result given how we started," said Clermont coach Franck Azema.
"Eight points after three away games is a good start."
La Rochelle remained unbeaten with 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 fly-half Zack Holmes kicked four penalties and two conversions while South African wing Paul Jordaan and centre Steeve Barry dotted down for La Rochelle.
Current second division champions Lyon earned their first Top 14 success with a bonus point 32-13 thumping of rock-bottom Grenoble.
Flankers Carl Fearns with two and Virgile Bruni, and former Australian international fly-half Mike Harris, who kicked two conversions, scored Lyon's tries.
South African international full-back Gio Aplon scored Grenoble's only try as they fell to a third straight defeat.
Pau got off the mark as New Zealand international fly-half 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.
Reigning Top 14 title-holders Racing 92 entertain Toulouse on Sunday.
Stade Francais 30 Clermont 30
Pau 25 Bayonne 9
Castres 18 La Rochelle 26
Lyon 32 Grenoble 13
Toulon 21 Brive 25
Bordeaux-Begles v Montpellier (14.15 GMT)
Racing 92 v Toulouse (19.00 GMT)
Standings (played, won, drawn, lost, points for, points against, bonus points, total points):
Brive 3 2 1 0 68 56 0 10
La Rochelle 3 2 1 0 78 67 0 10
Toulouse 2 2 0 0 42 29 0 8
Clermont 3 1 2 0 86 82 0 8
Stade Francais 3 1 1 1 104 78 1 7
Lyon 3 1 1 1 63 57 1 7
Castres 3 1 1 1 58 49 0 6
Pau 3 1 0 2 54 59 2 6
Toulon 3 1 0 2 66 71 2 6
Bayonne 3 1 1 1 49 60 0 6
Racing 92 2 1 0 1 38 31 1 5
Bordeaux-Begles 2 1 0 1 32 31 1 5
Montpellier 2 0 0 2 34 46 1 1
Grenoble 3 0 0 3 52 108 1 1