Ashton's brace help Toulon rout Brive's missing men
TOP 14 WRAP: Toulon enjoyed a six-try 41-24 win over Brive on Saturday in a bizarre French Top 14 clash which saw their rock-bottom visitors struggle through part of the match with four players in the sin bin.
Three-time European champions Toulon moved into third place courtesy of tries from Anthony Belleau, Hugo Bonneval, a double from English wing Chris Ashton, Raphael Lakafia and a penalty score awarded in the last moments of the first half.
Three of the tries came when Brive's Fabien Sanconnie, Said Hireche (both for repeated infringements) and Gaetan Germain (deliberate knock-on) were all yellow-carded.
With prop Karlen Asieshvili also in the sin-bin, Brive were down to 11 men at one stage.
In another twist, Asieshvili and Germain then redeemed themselves to a certain degree in the late stages of the game by scoring two of Brive's three tries. Samuel Marques added the other score for weary Brive.
"We showed a lot of heart," said Brive coach Didier Casadei. "Sadly, we were indisciplined and were severely punished by the referee.
"We spent 40 minutes inside our own 30 metres when you saw a courageous Brive. We had more ball in the second half, scored three tries and ended the match with an honourable scoreline."
Lyon stayed top after running in seven tries and collecting a bonus point in a 52-18 demolition of Oyonnax.
Five of their tries came in the second period after they had only been 14-10 ahead at the interval.
Montpellier are second, two points back, after a 22-16 win at Pau with tries from Nemani Nadolo, Joe Tomane and France No.8 Louis Picamoles.
Racing overturned a 7-8 deficit to beat Bordeaux 29-13 in a game which featured three red cards.
Two of them came for Racing's Virimi Vakatawa and Manuel Carizza while Sebastian Taofifenua also saw red for squaring up to Carizza.
Wing Vakatawa, who received his red card for a dangerous tackle on Jean-Baptiste Dubie, could now be suspended for France's opening autumn Test against New Zealand on November 11.
Defending champions Clermont piled on the problems for Stade Francais with a 33-10 win which still kept them in ninth spot, 15 points behind Lyon.
Samoan No.8 Fritz Lee and Fiji winger Alivereti Raka scored tries with the referee also awarding a penalty try as the Stade forwards were continually over-powered.
Raka now has six tries in five games.
Stade came into the game on the back of a seven-try thrashing at home by London Irish last week, having suffered a humiliating start to their defence of the Challenge Cup with a 34-29 loss to Siberian debutants Krasny Yar in Russia.
Toulon 41 Brive 24
Lyon 52 Oyonnax 18
Racing92 29 Bordeaux-Begles 13
Pau 16 Montpellier 22
Clermont 33 Stade Francais 10
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