Champions Clermont hit back with eight-try romp
TOP 14 SATURDAY WRAP:French Top 14 champions Clermont hit back from their 20-51 mauling by La Rochelle to crush rock-bottom Brive 62-6 on Saturday in an eight-try rout.
Following two defeats from three, Clermont desperately needed a big statement victory and Brive, now with four losses in four games, were the perfect fall guys.
Fijian wing Alivereti Raka grabbed a hat-trick of tries in the space of eight second-half minutes as the champions, who started the day in the unfamiliar position of second from bottom, kept Brive pointless for the entire second period.
Even being reduced to 13 men for 10 minutes, after yellow cards for John Ulugia Mignardi and Paul Jedrasiak, failed to derail Clermont for whom centre Damian Penaud (two tries), flanker Camille Gerondeau, full-back David Strettle and Argentine replacement Patricio Fernandez also scored.
"We were determined to redeem ourselves [after the defeat at La Rochelle]," said Penaud.
"There has been a lot of questioning this week, a lot of work has been done on what went wrong.
"In a season, there are always ups and downs. Last week we were at the bottom while tonight we had a lot fun."
Toulouse heaped more misery on Stade Francais and New Zealander coach Greg Cooper with a thumping 53-17 victory.
Stade came close to folding last season as they searched desperately for a buyer, while only a player strike prevented a proposed merger with cross-town rivals Racing 92.
Despite being saved by German billionaire Hans-Peter Wild, it has been a difficult start to the new season as Cooper's team slumped to a third defeat in four.
Toulouse secured the bonus point in a seven-try mauling that gave them a second win of the season.
Tries from South African wing Cheslin Kolbe, centre Jarrod Poi and fullback Thomas Ramos, who also kicked 12 points, had Toulouse in control at the break with a 27-9 lead, as France international flyhalf Jules Plisson replied for Stade with three penalties.
Shorn of talismanic captain Sergio Parisse, Stade were short of ideas, flaky in defence and guilty of numerous knock-ons.
But they came out with more purpose after the break, and replacement scrumhalf Terry Bouhraoua wriggled over from close range to put Stade back in contention at 27-17.
But the comeback was short-lived as Toulouse scrumhalf Antoine Dupont scored an almost identical try.
And when Sekou Macalou was sin-binned, with 15 minutes left, Stade crumbled.
Gael Fickou went over, Ramos added his second to finish with a personal haul of 26 points and Maxime Medard ran in the seventh two minutes from time.
La Rochelle, fresh from their rout of Clermont, had a tougher time Saturday in seeing off Agen 20-15 for their first ever win at the home of the promoted side.
Wing Steeve Barry and Fijian fullback Kini Murimurivalu grabbed the tries for La Rochelle - the only scores of the night - with Agen's points coming from five penalties.
Lyon ran in six tries in a 49-14 rout of Bordeaux with veteran fly-half Lionel Beauxis scoring 24 points against his old club.
On Sunday, leaders Montpellier, the only team with a 100 percent record, host three-time European champions Toulon.