Masoe latest Kiwi villain as Racing lose

Sat, 04 Mar 2017 20:48
Large top 14 general2 800

TOP 14 WRAP: New Zealander Chris Masoe compounded Racing 92's blues by getting sent off just six minutes into Saturday's 10-19 Top 14 defeat at Grenoble.

Racing's New Zealand contingent has been a public relations nightmare for the Parisians this season.

All Black great Dan Carter was stopped for drink-driving last month whilst he, fellow New Zealand international star Joe Rokocoko and Argentina wing Juan Imhoff are being investigated by the French Anti-Doping Agency over the use of corticosteroids in last year's Top 14 Final, despite already being cleared of wrongdoing by the French Rugby Federation's medical commission.

And just last week former All Black lock Ali Williams was arrested for buying cocaine.

Racing's problems piled up when Samoan-born Masoe was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Grenoble hooker Arnaud Heguy.

Racing battled gamely but three penalties from their former flyhalf Jonathan Wisniewski gave Grenoble a 9-3 half-time lead - Irish scrumhalf James Hart kicking the visitors' points.

Things got worse 13 minutes into the second period when flyhalf Benjamin Dambielle was sin-binned for holding back Wisniewski, with Grenoble punishing the 13 men of Racing almost immediately with a try from wing Lucas Dupont.

Racing were offered a lifeline when Wisniewski was sent to the bin 15 minutes from the end but failed to score during 10 minutes of numerical parity.

France international wing Teddy Thomas did get a try after the final buzzer but by then the game was lost.

Earlier, Castres kept up their impressive home form to move into third with a 26-16 victory over leaders Clermont.

The win was Castres' seventh in the last nine Top 14 matches, and they remain unbeaten at home since September.

"What changed the game in our favour was the coaching," boasted Castres coach Christophe Urios.

"However, I'm not happy at all with our first half. We lacked physical commitment. I expected more and I believe we're capable of better."

Stephen Brett and Rory Kockott traded early penalties before Clermont's Fijian No.8 Peceli Yato was yellow carded for a high tackle on David Smith.

Making the most of their numerical superiority, Castres' South African hooker Jody Jenneker was driven over for a well-deserved try in the 33rd minute.

South African-born France international Kockott converted, but Clermont hit back through English full-back Nick Abendanon.

Wing David Strettle, also once an England back, cut through close to the line, the ball was recycled quickly and Abendanon found himself with a stretched defence for a try New Zealander Brett converted to leave it 10-10 at half-time.

Brett traded two more penalties with Kockott and his Argentinian replacement Benjamin Urdapilleta before flanker Anthony Jelonch bounced Yato aside to cross for Castres' second try.

In a few decisive minutes, Urdapilleta was on target with the conversion and then snatched a drop goal.

New Zealand internationals Colin Slade (five) and Tom Taylor (15) kicked 20 points between them as Pau claimed a 25-25 draw at rock-bottom Bayonne.

The two points for a draw ensured they will remain in the top six play-off positions at the end of the weekend.

Results:
Castres 26 Clermont 16
Grenoble 19 Racing92 10
Bayonne 25 Pau 25

Agence France-Presse