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La Rochelle beat Montpellier to go top, Toulon see off Lyon

La Rochelle fly-half Brock James

La Rochelle took over as Top 14 leaders with a 26-14 victory over Montpellier before Toulon extended Lyon’s run of defeats to four on Saturday.


Montpellier were beaten by Racing 92 last weekend and La Rochelle replaced them at the summit after Alexis Bales scored 16 points with the boot at Stade Marcel-Deflandre.

A first-half try from Paul Jordaan and another late on from Brock James sealed the top-of-the table tussle, putting the home side two points clear at the top.

Romain Ruffenach scored the only try for Vern Cotter’s men in the second half and they must regroup ahead of a European Champions Cup clash at Glasgow Warriors on Friday.

Third-placed Lyon’s slump continued at Stade Mayol, where Chris Ashton scored a try in each half as Toulon eased to a 39-11 win.

Toulon had also lost three in a row before Lyon made the journey south, but an Ashton double following a Mathieu Bastareaud try put them in control.

Xavier Chiocci and JP Pietersen also touched down as Lyon could only muster a Liam Gill try right at the end and two Frederic Michalak penalties.


Brive came out on top in an entertaining battle of the bottom two, beating Oyonnax 33-30, while Pau got the better of Bordeaux-Bagles 27-17 and Castres scored six tries in a 41-31 win at Toulouse.



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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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FEATURE Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma