Du Plessis helps Montpellier end losing streak
TOP 14 WRAP: South African flank Jacques du Plessis produced a second half double as Montpellier snapped a two-game losing streak with a 41-13 win over Pau.
Fijian wings Timoci Nagusa and Nemani Nadolo both muscled through for tries and Paul Willemse also touched down while scrumhalf Benoit Paillaugue added 14 points from the boot as Montpellier recorded only their second win in six league games.
Vern Cotter’s side picked up an offensive bonus point which lifts them to eighth in the table, four points behind Stade Francais in the last of the play-off positions.
“It was good to win. It was a tough game,” said Cotter.
“In the second half we managed to tip the match our way, we defended well by conceding only one try. It was a well-constructed win.”
Pressure is now building on Pau coach Simon Mannix whose side have now lost six in a row and stay third from bottom.
#MHRSP | 39-13
— Montpellier Rugby (@MHR_officiel) December 30, 2018
Bordeaux-Begles produced a storming performance to thrash Racing 92 40-7 in round 13 of the Top 14 on Sunday while Montpellier ended their losing streak with a convincing victory over Pau.
Bordeaux pounced on Ole Avei’s early red card to run in tries through George Tilsley, Nans Ducuing and Yann Lesgourgues.
A late penalty try appeared to have denied Bordeaux the bonus point but Ducuing’s second try in the last action of the match secured it and lifted Bordeaux to fourth in the table at the halfway point of the competition, leapfrogging Racing who drop to sixth.
A difficult evening for Racing 92 was rendered almost impossible when they had hooker Avei sent off after just 11 minutes for a dangerous tackle on Jean-Baptiste Dubie who had to be stretchered off.
Baptiste Serin converted the resulting penalty from almost halfway to put Bordeaux ahead.
Seven minutes later, Brock James took advantage of a Simon Zebo error to set up a series of rucks on the Racing line which eventually resulted in wing George Tilsley piling through for Bordeaux’ opening try.
Serin, who kicked 16 points in total, converted and added two penalties to put Bordeaux 16-0 up at the break. He added another early in the second half before Nans Ducuing finished a flowing sweep upfield.
When back-rowers Beka Gorgadze and Alexandre Roumat combined to open a gap for Lesgourgues, Bordeaux were 33-0 up and looking certain to secure the bonus point.
The Racing penalty try five minutes from time which resulted in a yellow card for Cameron Woki meant Bordeaux needed to score again. With Racing prop Census Johnston sent to the sin-bin 12 seconds before the 80 minutes was up, Bordeaux had one last chance.
The penalty was kicked into touch and from the line-out they sprayed the ball wide with former All Black Seta Tamanivalu, playing his first game for Bordeaux, feeding France winger Ducuing for the run-in.
Montpellier 41 Pau 13
Bordeaux-Begles 40 Racing92 7
Toulouse 39 Toulon 0
Lyon 52 Agen 20
Stade Francais 23 Grenoble 20
La Rochelle 53 Castres 27
Perpignan 16 Clermont 37