Pollard try not enough to save Montpellier
TOP 14 WRAP: South Africa’s World Cup winner Handre Pollard’s first try in the French premier competition was not enough to secure his club a win.
Pollard club, Montpellier, managed only a 20-all draw with Stade Francais in a Round 12 match.
Pollard, 25, who made his club debut last weekend after lifting the Webb Ellis trophy in early November, crossed in the final quarter of an hour – after taking a quick penalty five metres from the Parisians line on his maiden home appearance.
Despite his efforts, the visitors’ 22-year old flyhalf Joris Segonds slotted a penalty with six minutes to go to claim a draw for Stade – who remain bottom of the table.
Argentina flyhalf Nicholas Sanchez wasted nine points from the boot, which would have claimed the Parisians’ first away league win of the campaign.
“I’m disappointed, because it’s a game we should have won – but we didn’t have the ingredients to win,” Pollard said after the fixture.
“The squad’s lacking confidence because we’re failing to win successive games,” he added.
The hosts led 10-0 after 25 minutes as Pollard converted Arthur Vincent’s try and kicked a penalty goal.
Stade, owned by billionaire Hans-Peter Wild, sparked into action before the break as Australia’s Sefa Naivalu and France’s Gael Fickou crossed for a 14-10 lead but Pumas back-rower Pablo Matera left the field with a suspected back injury.
Pollard and Segonds traded a penalty each before the Springbok’s moment of magic with 13 minutes to go as he took a penalty quickly to crash over.
His conversion made it 20-17 but Segonds stepped up with have a dozen of minutes to play to deny Pollard a winning home debut.
Lyon back top
Earlier, Lyon destroyed Bayonne with an emphatic 52-9 win that featured seven tries and hoists them provisionally to first spot in the table.
The flurry of tries from six different scorers in front of a 16,000 home crowd at the Stade Gerland lifts early-season pace-setters Lyon onto 40 points.
Bordeaux-Begles, who are two points back in second, went into the weekend top and travel to struggling Pau on Sunday needing a win to put them back at the summit.
Lyon got off to a flying start to the Top 14 season but three defeats in the past four outings were firmly put behind them Saturday.
The 21-year-old France centre Pierre-Louis Barassi was the chief motor of Bayonne’s destruction and is a good bet to add to his one Test cap in the up-coming Six Nations.
Bayonne coach Yannick Bru refused to take the defeat on the chin.
“It was a bit of a spanking, but strangely, despite the score, we weren’t far off,” he claimed after the game.
Barassi dotted down four minutes into the second half before two quickfire tries from South African Hendrik Roodt led to Bayonne crumbling.
Elsewhere on Saturday, newly promoted Brive lost at home in the league for the first time this season as hooker Camille Chat scored twice in Racing 92’s 44-20 victory at Stade Amedee-Domenech.
Ex-France fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc made his debut in the Parisians’ seventh win from their past eight games across all competitions.
Montpellier 20 Stade Francais 20
Brive 20 Racing92 44
Lyon 52 Bayonne 9
Playing Sunday (all times GMT)
Pau v Bordeaux-Begles (14.45)
La Rochelle v Agen (14.45)
Clermont v Castres (17.00)
Toulouse v Toulon (20.00)