Bales key to La Rochelle victory over Toulouse
Alexi Bales starred as third-placed La Rochelle moved to within six points of Top 14 leaders Lyon with a 37-21 win over Toulouse on Sunday.
Scrum-half Bales kicked three penalties at Stade Marcel Deflandre and converted all four home tries - one of which he scored himself to make the score 27-9 with just under half an hour remaining.
Toulouse responded instantly through Dorian Aldegheri, and Sebastien Bezy's converted try threatened to make a game of it after William Demotte saw red for La Rochelle.
However, Mohamed Boughanmi made the points safe 10 minutes from time, adding to first-half scores from Hikairo Forbes and Jeremy Sinzelle.
Elsewhere, Castres edged out Agen in an entertaining 43-28 win at Stade Pierre-Fabre.
This was a sixth consecutive reverse for the visitors, but they had threatened to end that run in the second half before fading.
Castres led by 12 when Anthony Jelonch's try early in the second half was converted, but Agen came roaring back and scored through Denis Marchois, Mathieu Lamoulie and Filipo Nakosi in quick succession to take a 28-21 lead.
Benjamin Urdapilleta and Jelonch went over late on to put Castres back in front, before Julien Dumora's second try made the points safe.