Pressure on Heyneke Meyer after fifth French Top 14 loss
TOP 14 SATURDAY WRAP: Pressure piled on Stade Francais’ South African head coach Heyneke Meyer on Saturday after a fifth defeat of the season, 16-46 to Castres, left them bottom of the French Top 14 table.
Meyer, who led the Springboks to the 2015 World Cup semifinals, has overseen a dour start to the campaign in his second year in charge of the club backed by German billionaire Hans-Peter Wild.
Local media, including newspaper Le Parisien, reported his position at Stade Jean-Bouin would be under threat with further defeats.
The Parisians’ flyhalf Morne Steyn and Castres counterpart Julien Dumora both slotted penalties within the first 15 minutes.
Steyn added a second before Thomas Comebezou crossed for the hosts’ first of four tries of proceedings.
The former South Africa international then slotted his third penalty before the floodgates at Stade Pierre-Fabre opened after half an hour.
Dumora added 10 points with a converted try and another three-pointer for a 20-9 lead at the break.
Two further touchdowns followed in the second-half with Geoffrey Palis and Kevin Gimeno crossing as Rory Kockott, Ludo Radosavljevic and Dumora all adding to Meyer’s worries from the boot.
Stade Francais’ Ruan Combrinck, signed by Meyer in the summer, claimed a late consolation try.
Earlier in the day, Australian flyhalf Jake McIntyre scored half his side’s points as Clermont claimed a home win over Montpellier for the first time in five years with a 20-13 victory.
McIntyre, a former Australia Under-20 international, slotted two conversions and a pair of penalties as hooker Mike Tadjer and former All Blacks playmaker Isaia Toeava crossed for last season’s runners-up.
The last time Montpellier failed to win at Stade Marcel-Michelin was in February 2014 and the victory moves Clermont up to fourth place in the table.
“Matches against Montpellier are alway difficult, we’ve seen that over the last five seasons,” Clermont coach Franck Azema said.
“It’s certainly our roughest match since the start of the season but we controlled it well.”
Champions Toulouse lost 9-23 at promoted Brive and Bayonne beat Agen 29-27.
Later Saturday, leaders Lyon host second-placed Bordeaux-Begles with both clubs looking to maintain their unbeaten starts.
On Sunday, 13th-placed Racing 92 head to Pau before three-time former European champions Toulon, who have All Blacks wing Julian Savea on the bench after recovering from flu, welcome La Rochelle.
French Top 14 results on Saturday:
Brive 23-9 Toulouse
Castres 46-16 Stade Francais
Agen 27-29 Bayonne
Clermont 20-13 Montpellier