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Montpellier take charge of Top 14 as Lyon slip up

By Iain Strachan
Alivereti Raka playing for Clermont

Montpellier defeated Stade Toulousain 32-22 to take the lead in the Top 14 after Lyon lost at Clermont on Saturday.

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A brace of Alivereti Raka tries, together with scores from David Strettle, Morgan Parra and Sitaleki Timani, helped reigning champions Clermont dispatch visitors Lyon 39-18 at the Stade Marcel-Michelin.

And the result saw Lyon displaced from the summit later in the day, as Jan Serfontein, Gabriel Ngandebe, Jesse Mogg and Joe Tomane all crossed for Montpellier at home to Toulouse.

The boot of Zack Holmes kept the away team in touch at Altrad Stadium, but they could only muster one 65th-minute try from Maks van Dyk.

Elsewhere, third-placed La Rochelle also slipped up, succumbing to a first-half onslaught to lose 31-15 at Castres Olympique, who scored three tries in the first 24 minutes to lead 21-3 at the break.

Bordeaux Begles in fifth saw off struggling Agen 33-23 at home and Section Paloise defeated second-bottom side Brive 34-15.

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Turlough 5 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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