Leaders Clermont Auvergne eased to a bonus-point win over bottom club Perpignan in round 13 of the Top 14 season.
The clash between teams at opposite ends of the table was not quite as one-sided as perhaps expected, though Clermont still recorded a comfortable 37-16 triumph against opponents yet to register a league win this term.
Peter Betham, Wesley Fofana, Arthur Iturria and Peceli Yato all touched down for the visitors, scrum-half Greig Laidlaw adding all four conversions as well as three penalties.
La Rochelle are now up to second in the standings, moving above Toulouse – who host Toulon on Sunday – thanks to a 53-27 thrashing of Castres.
Pierre Aguillon and Marc Andreu both crossed twice in a resounding victory for the hosts, with fly-half Ihaia West landing five conversions and a pair of penalties to finish with a personal haul of 16 points.
— TOP 14 Rugby (@top14rugby) December 29, 2018
Alexis Palisson scored two of his side’s seven tries as Lyon ripped Agen apart, running out convincing 52-20 winners at Matmut Stadium.
Jonathan Wisniewski set up Palisson’s first early in the second half having already set up hooker Mickael Ivaldi for a try before the break. The fly-half also booted 13 points before he was taken off just after the hour mark with the bonus point long secured.
Having played a starring role in the 19-6 win over Agen last time out, Argentine fly-half Nicolas Sanchez was once again pivotal as Stade Francais fought back to record a hard-fought 23-20 triumph over Grenoble.
The home side trailed 17-0 after just 21 minutes but Sanchez helped lead the recovery, Stade scoring 23 unanswered points. Gaetan Germain cut the gap to three with a penalty for Grenoble but was unable to convert a late attempt at the posts that would have drawn his side level.
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