Montpellier remained firmly in the hunt for a top-two finish as Joe Tomane scored a first-half hat-trick in 61-22 battering of rock-bottom Bayonne on Sunday.
It was a classy showing from Montpellier at the Altrad Stadium, with the hosts running in nine tries against already-relegated Bayonne to stay four points adrift of second-placed Clermont and a guaranteed semi-final berth.
Tomane raced over after just six minutes, before scores from Antoine Battut and Francois Steyn inside 16 minutes left Bayonne facing a mountain to climb.
Three more tries arrived before the break with Tomane completing his treble either side of Timoci Nagusa touching down and they led 40-8 at half-time, with Julien Jane providing Bayonne’s only try of the half.
Martin Laveau further reduced the arrears, but there was never any realistic chance of a comeback being mounted as further tries arrived from Steyn, Akapusi Qera and Willie du Plessis – who also amassed 21 points with the boot – Tomaakino Taufa’s late effort nothing more than a consolation.
— LNR.FR (@lnr_fr) April 16, 2017
Elsewhere, Luke McAlister failed to secure a last-gasp draw for Toulouse as his missed conversion saw the hosts slump to a 10-8 loss against defending champions Racing 92.
The visitors led through a three-pointer from Dan Carter and an eighth-minute penalty try, with Samuel Brands’ penalty the only points Toulouse accrued by half-time.
Racing’s hopes took a huge hit when Viliamu Afatia was sent off before Ben Tameifuna’s sin-binning left them down to 13 men.
The numerical advantage led to Maxime Medard going over with two minutes remaining, but McAlister failed to add the extras as Racing ground out a victory that leaves them fifth.
Watch every game of Top 14 Rugby live on rugbypass.com, home of the best online rugby coverage including news, highlights, previews & reviews, live scores, and more!