Holmes kicks La Rochelle to late win over Toulouse
TOP 14 WWRAP: Australian flyhalf Zack Holmes kicked two late penalties to give La Rochelle a 25-19 win over Toulouse to move back into second place in the French Top 14 on Sunday.
In a topsy-turvy match, Toulouse had battled back from 19-6 down to level at 19-19 before Holmes held his nerve to knock over his fifth and sixth penalties of the afternoon.
He finished with a personal haul of 20 points having also converted a 49th-minute try by wing Gabriel Lacroix.
On Saturday rock-bottom Bayonne stunned leaders Clermont 22-14, registering their first win in almost three months despite playing with 14 men for the entire second half.
Clermont were missing five first-choice players away on French international duty and Bayonne, on an 11-match streak without a win, seized their chance to record a first Top 14 victory since they downed Toulon 28-23 on August 21.
Skipper and flank Jean Monribot scored their only try in the 25th minute while Damian Penaud and Benson Stanley crossed for the league leaders.
Bayonne were reduced to 14 men after 36 minutes when Welsh prop Ben Borster was red-carded for a dangerous tackle.
Despite the loss Clermont stay top with Montpellier back in third place after a 25-20 win over Lyon.
All Blacks Tommy Taylor and Conrad Smith marshalled Pau to a convincing 26-17 victory over Racing 92 to snap a four-match Top 14 losing streak.
Taylor, capped three times by New Zealand and preferred at fly-half to compatriot Colin Slade, kicked four penalties and converted Pau's two tries from Watisoni Votu and Baptiste Pourailly to guide his team to a much-needed win.
Racing managed a sole James Hart penalty in the first half, before notching up two converted tries through Dimitri Szarzewski and Chris Masoe, also a former All Black.
"It's an important victory against opponents who wanted to play," said Pau coach Simon Mannix.
"It's a step in the right direction."
Racing, missing a raft of big names including Dan Carter, were left ruing their ill-discipline, lock Ali Williams having been yellow-carded early in the game for repeated fouls.
La Rochelle 25 Toulouse 19
Toulon 31 Stade Francais 12
Pau 26 Racing92 17
Castres 32 Brive 13
Montpellier 25 Lyon 20
Grenoble 22 Bordeaux-Begles 24
Bayonne 22 Clermont 14