Raka returns to his best with hat-trick while Sammy Arnold gets first Top14 try

Fijian-born Raka crossed twice before the break and then claimed his first hat-trick in five years.

Clermont's Alivereti Raka
Clermont's Alivereti Raka
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

FRANCE WINGER Alivereti Raka said he was “back to his best” after scoring three times as Clermont easily overcame Lyon 43-20 at home in the French Top 14 on Saturday.

Fijian-born Raka, who made the last of his five Test appearances in December 2020, crossed twice before the break and then claimed his first hat-trick in five years with half an hour to play.

The win sends the outfit from central France, who scored six tries in glorious, autumn sunshine, up to third in the table after five rounds of the season.

“I’m happy to be back to my best,” Raka told reporters.

“I worked hard, and I made the most of passes that get to the wings. The hat-trick comes from work from the whole team,” the 27-year-old added.

Les Bleus scrum-half Baptiste Couilloud and Springboks’ No. 8 Arno Botha claimed tries for the visitors who continue to look for their first victory at Stade Marcel Michelin since 1939.

Elsewhere, Fiji’s Olympic champion Jiuta Wainiqolo clinched his third try of the season as Toulon beat Pau 34-17 and South African stand-off Tristan Tedder was successful with three penalties as Perpignan held on to edge last season’s runners-up Castres 14-10.

Ex-Ireland centre Sammy Arnold scored his first try for Brive as the 1997 European champions claimed a 25-22 success over Bayonne.

sammy-arnold Sam Arnold in action for Ireland in 2018. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The Basques secured an 82nd-minute defensive bonus point thanks to Springboks No. 8 Uzair Cassiem’s effort off the bench.

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France fly-half Matthieu Jalibert kicked all Bordeaux-Begles’ points as they beat Stade Francais 15-10 at home.

Jalibert, 23, the understudy to Romain Ntamack for Les Bleus, slotted five penalty goals as his club claimed their second win of the season.

Georgia prop Giorgi Melikidze crossed in additional time to also claim a losing bonus point for the Parisians.

Later Saturday, South Africa full-back Warrick Gelant is set to make his club debut off the bench as Racing 92 head to La Rochelle.

On Sunday, league leaders Toulouse travel to champions Montpellier but they rest World Rugby player of the year Antoine Dupont, with Arthur Retiere partnering his brother Edgar at half-back.

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