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Top 14: Castres stops its black streak, La Rochelle gets scared

Leader of the Top 14 since mid-November, Racing 92 fell from a height on Saturday in Perpignan (26-5), victim of cold Catalan realism, during this first day of the return phase which smiled on the Stade Français and also on Castres.

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Top 14: Castres stops its black streak, La Rochelle gets scared

Leader of the Top 14 since mid-November, Racing 92 fell from a height on Saturday in Perpignan (26-5), victim of cold Catalan realism, during this first day of the return phase which smiled on the Stade Français and also on Castres. The runner-up of the Ile-de-France residents, and closest neighbor geographically, Stade Français took full advantage of this to take the lead in the Top 14.

How ? By making a second victorious move. After Stéphane Hamed's interception in Chaban last weekend, this time it was the solidarity of the Soldats Roses which paid off in Oyonnax (23-19) where the locals had several match points in the money-time. The internal crisis which shook the Parisian locker room two weeks ago was therefore positive.

This Saturday's performance came from the Hamlet where after a very unbridled and lively match (eight tries scored including four in the first quarter of an hour), Castres put an end to a series of four defeats in a row by winning against Pau (44-33).

The Béarnais' return from the locker room was catastrophic (14-3 conceded in seven minutes) and the final blow was harsh for the Section, which suffered a fourth defeat in a row, losing three places in the standings, overtaken by CO, Clermont. and La Rochelle.

Launched by Alivereti Raka, author of two express tries, ASM confirmed that Lyon's defense was worryingly porous away by scoring six tries (38-21). The LOU's proud reaction was not enough in this derby which was marked by Christophe Urios.

After a difficult match, La Rochelle ended up gaining the upper hand over Montpellier (18-10), being more pragmatic on Saturday at home, on the occasion of the 14th day of Top 14. This success, little contested by the men by Patrice Collazo, confirms the renewed form of Ronan O'Gara's players who are keeping pace with the contenders for qualification. The MHR, brave and eye-catching, especially in the first period, returned with empty suitcases, Louis Carbonel missing the defensive bonus penalty after the siren. In fact, he remains stuck in last place, two points behind Oyonnax and four points behind Lyon (12th).

Despite getting off to a good start with two quick penalties from Antoine Hastoy, the Maritimes were unable to get past the second where indiscipline reigned amid the roughness. The break was good and the local intentions found their reward by Brice Dulin, served full axis by Ihaia West, placed in the center (47). Twelve minutes later, Levani Botia, favorite of Deflandre, doubled the yellow and black's capital try by finishing a nice move in the corner which had stretched the visiting defense (18-3). Instead of pressing to secure a five-point victory, the Stadium lost Will Skelton to injury, then the wire against a red lantern finally concerned. The heel replacing Baptiste Erdocio took the opportunity to reduce the gap (75th), opening up prospects for his team then in numerical superiority after the yellow card addressed to Judicaël Cancoriet. In vain, despite this final penalty missed by Carbonel, sealing a new empty trip, the sixth of the season for the 2022 French champion.

The double European champion from La Rochelle, deprived of his internationals, provided the essentials against Montpellier, the red lantern who once again returned empty-handed from the trip (18-10) when there was surely room for better. Two tries from Brice Dulin and Levani Botia were enough for Deflandre to be happy.

In the evening, Antoine Dupont's Toulouse has the possibility of returning to Stade Français at the top of the Top 14 if it wins with the bonus ahead of Bayonne.

This 14th day will conclude on Sunday evening with a clash between Toulon, undefeated at home, who will leave with the favor of the forecasts against Bordeaux-Bègles, strongly reduced for this second double in rank and which, historically, has always given in to Mayol.

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