Top 14: Ratini lifts Grenoble as Castres bounce back
Last Updated: 30/08/14 9:55pm
Rory Kockott in action for Castres
Alipate Ratini scored a magnificent hat-trick to lead Grenoble to a first Top 14 win of the season, 37-23 over Bordeaux-Bègles.
They were matched by Lyon and Oyonnax who also picked up their first wins, against Brive and Stade Français respectively.
And Castres picked up a bonus-point win against Bayonne meaning that every team has now won after three rounds.
Earlier in the day La Rochelle had produced a magnificent display to down Toulouse 37-25 and pick up their first win since returning to the top flight.
The evening match saw Racing Metro hand Toulon their first Top 14 defeat of the season after running out 17-10 winners.
Castres 30-6 Bayonne
Stade Pierre Antoine
Castres bounced back from a disappointing defeat at Toulouse to cruise past Bayonne at Pierre Antoine.
The home side edged the first half before really finding their feet after the break to pick up a bonus-point win.
Bayonne showed a lot of ambition early on, and were able to take the lead through Blair Stewart when Remi Lamerat was penalised for not releasing a tackled player in a ruck.
Castres were under pressure but they responded with a penalty from Rory Kockott, before crossing for what looked like the first try, only for the TMO to decide he had been held up.
Bayonne found themselves down to 14 men midway through the half when Dwayne Haare was given a yellow card for a succession of penalties by the visitors.
Castres took advantage, with Kockott scoring a penalty before Marcel Garvey scored the game's first try. The diminutive winger was on hand when Castres spread the ball wide and after consultation with the TMO the try was given. Kockott converted to make it 13-3.
Back to 15, Bayonne managed reduce their deficit just before the break with Stewart slotting his second penalty of the afternoon.
The home side were first to score in the second half, with Lamerat setting up a try for Julien Dumora. The France centre made the initial break before the ball came out to Remi Tales. The fly-half spotted Dumora and threw a miss-pass which the full-back collected to go under the posts.
And Castres added another just before the hour to move into bonus point territory. Hooker Brice Mach was the beneficiary of a rolling maul, and Kockott's conversion made it 27-6 to last year's runners-up.
Geoffrey Palis added a penalty soon after to stretch the lead further, and despite his late sin-binning for an intentional knock-on, Castres held out to keep their bonus point.
Grenoble 37-23 Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade des Alpes
Alipate Ratini was the star of the show for Grenoble as they ended Bordeaux-Begles' unbeaten start to the season in emphatic style.
The Fijian scored three of his side's five tries as they claimed a bonus-point success to make up for two narrow losses on the road at Clermont and Montpellier.
Grenoble, back on home soil for the first time this season, made the quicker start, scoring the first try of the game after just two minutes.
It started from a great dummy by Gio Aplon, after Grenoble had spread the ball wide, and the Springbok full-back then picked out Nigel Hunt who crossed. Jonathan Wisniewski converted to make it 7-0.
In an open game Bordeaux threatened regularly, but Grenoble were able to add to their score midway through the half when Bordeaux were caught offside, Wisniewski making no mistake to stretch the lead.
The visitors were really struggling, and on 33 minutes they conceded once more as Rory Grice went over. The powerful number eight took advantage of great work by the Grenoble lineout to go over, and the try was given after consultation with the TMO.
Bordeaux responded with a penalty from Lionel Beauxis, making his first start of the season, but it was Grenoble who finished the half in control, with Ratini showing his pace to score after an initial break from Wisniewski. The fly-half converted to make it 22-3 at the break.
The visitors made the better start to the second half, earning an early penalty through Beauxis to reduce the deficit. And the French international added another soon after as Bordeaux started to get into the game.
But Grenoble quelled the fightback quickly through their Fijian flyer Ratini, the winger scoring his fourth try of the season already after Wisniewski had switched play. The fly-half converted to stretch the lead to 29-9.
Wisniewski added a penalty to increase the lead, but Bordeaux hit back with a consolation try for new signing Yann Lesgourgues, who played a penalty quickly to dart over. Beauxis made no mistake with the conversion.
Ratini was not done though, and he completed his hat-trick ten minutes from time when the ball was turned over and spread wide, and once more he had too much pace.
And despite Sofiane Guitoune's late try, it was Grenoble who ran out comfortable winners earning a deserved bonus point.
Lyon 24-6 Brive
Toby Arnold scored twice to help Lyon to their first win on their return to the Top 14.
In a game notable for the chronic indiscipline from both sides, the home team were able to produce the moments of quality to pick up the win.
Brive dominated possession in the first half but struggled to turn it into points, with Lyon much the more clinical side.
Gaetan Germain scored the first penalty of the afternoon for the visitors but Lachie Munro replied with two of his own to give Lyon a 6-3 lead.
Lyon were struggling in the scrum, and lost Anthony Roux to a yellow card when Laurent Cardona lost patience with the repetition of infringements, but it didn't stop the home side.
Vincent Martin, who joined the club from Toulon, produced a great break before finding Arnold. The winger showed his pace and a great sidestep as he cut inside to score the first try of the game. Munro missed the conversion but Lyon led 11-3 at the break.
The second half was marked by indiscipline from both sides, with Germain and Munro exchanging penalties before Damien Lavergne was sin-binned for Brive after failing to bind in the scrum.
Lyon extended the lead through replacement Stephen Brett with 25 minutes left, and just after, Brive winger Benito Masilevu was sin-binned for a tip-tackle as the home side began to take control.
That was the start of a ridiculous period of play, with Brive losing two more players, Said Hireche and Kevin Buys, in quick succession, while Emmanuel Felsina was sin-binned for Lyon.
But the home side finished the stronger with Arnold grabbing his second try, which Brett converted to seal the win.
Oyonnax 33-6 Stade Français
Stade Charles Mathon
Oyonnax proved much too strong for Stade Français as they cruised to a first win of the campaign at Charles Mathon.
Last year the Parisians were one of just two sides to win at Oyonnax, but they were never in this contest, eventually conceding four tries.
Yves Donguy made the perfect start for the home side, scoring two tries in the opening quarter to give Oyonnax a big early lead.
The former Toulouse winger took advantage of a poor clearing kick by new man Krisnan Inu, allowing Donguy to go over on the left as he got back quicker than Inu.
Urdapilleta stretched the lead with a penalty before Donguy scored his second after Monti Ioane was again put under pressure. The winger had managed to get across but failed to collect Urdapilleta's cross-kick straightaway, and then Donguy was quickest turned the ball over in the ruck to dot down and make it 13-0.
The visitors were really struggling up front, as Oyonnax scrum had them on toast, but they managed to stay in touch with a Jerome Fillol penalty just after the half-hour and were helped out when Urdapilleta missed his third shot at goal of the afternoon on the stroke of half-time.
The scrum was causing problems on both sides, and when it went down once more early in the second half, Antoine Tichit and Davit Kubriashvili were both sin-binned.
Urdapilleta appeared to have found his kicking boots, slotting a second penalty of the afternoon, but Fillol responded in kind to reduce the deficit to ten points with half an hour remaining.
But it was the home side who looked the more dangerous, in particular thanks to their scrum, and Urdapilleta added another penalty when Stade were penalised five metres out from their line.
Oyonnax still needed another try to secure a bonus point, and it came late on when Sergio Parisse threw a horrible pass to Jules Plisson. The replacement fly-half could only hack the ball forward and it went straight into the hands of Urdapilleta who sprinted under the posts.
And there was still time for another try, Roimata Hansell-Pune showing his strength for the umpteenth time to break through some would-be tacklers and diver over.
Racing 17-10 Toulon
Racing-Métro scored a try in each half as they handed Toulon a first Top 14 loss of the season.
It was an edgy start to the game, with neither side really able to impose themselves and it was the home side who were able to draw first blood when Craig Burden was sin-binned after 15 minutes.
Racing took full advantage with a lineout deep in Toulon territory, and after a series of charges it was Luc Ducalcon who made ground before the ball was spread again and François van der Merwe crashed over. Sexton converted to make it 7-0.
Toulon could have reduced the deficit but Frederic Michalak’s first kick at goal went horribly wrong, never threatening the posts. Toulon were able to hit back with a try of their own through James O'Connor.
Michalak started it, spreading the ball wide in his own half, and Josua Tuisova made the most of the space to sprint into Racing territory. Brice Dulin came across to tackle him, but the Fijian flipped the ball to O'Connor, who shrugged off Maxime Machenaud to go over in the right. Michalak added the conversion.
Burden made his return but Racing were next on the scoreboard, Machenaud slotting a penalty as Sexton was getting treatment for a knock to his shoulder.
The second half started in quicker fashion. Teddy Thomas showing quick feet to get out of trouble when covering back, and rather than kicking clear, Racing spread the ball wide.
Casey Laulala showed his elusiveness to make ground on the right and Racing kept the pressure on with both forwards and backs making ground.
Having reached the Toulon 22, Machenaud threw a dummy before darting through a gaping hole to go over untouched. He converted his own try to make it 17-7 with half an hour remaining.
Sexton was still struggling with injury and was replaced by Johan Goosen. He nearly responded in kind with a penalty from inside his own half, but while he had the distance, the direction was awry.
Toulon had a chance to score their first try of the game with 20 minutes remaining, when they had the Racing defence scrambling, but when the ball arrived in David Smith's hands, an overlap had disappeared, and the Australian was stopped short.
Machenaud was next to try his luck with a penalty in the final minute, and although he too was off-target, Racing were able to regather the ball and kick it out for the win.