Clermont see off Stade Francais, Toulon triumph in style
Clermont Auvergne kept up the pressure on Top 14 leaders Toulouse with a hard-fought 41-25 win away at Stade Francais on Sunday.
Stade surprisingly led 13-0 after an eventful opening 23 minutes that saw three yellow cards, Jules Plisson following up a pair of early penalties by converting Remi Bonfils' try.
Setariki Tuicuvu was sent to the sin bin just prior to Bonfils crossing, though Stade were down to 13 men when both Julien Arias and Gael Fickou were ordered off for 10 minutes.
Second-placed Clermont led 14-13 when a penalty try was followed up by Apisai Naqalevu touching down, though Stade hit back with six points from Plisson.
Greig Laidlaw and Plisson exchanged penalties either side of half-time before the visitors hit the front again with Naqalevu's second try of the game. It was an advantage they would not surrender again.
John Ulugia crossed on the hour to put daylight between the teams and Etienne Falgoux grabbed Clermont’s final try in the 79th minute, Laidlaw converting to finish with a personal haul of 14 points.
Toulon ran in seven tries as they thrashed Bordeaux-Begles 45-17 in the other top-flight fixture in France.
Filipo Nakosi, Mathieu Bastareaud and Julien Ory all crossed in a rampant nine-minute spell after Alexandre Roumat's early try for Bordeaux.
Julian Savea, Florian Fresia, Guilhem Guirado and Charles Ollivon reached the line in the second half for Toulon, who saw Anthony Belleau land five successful conversion attempts in a landslide victory.