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Top14: Castres lock Pieterse sees red while Lyon's Bamba reveals racial abuse

It was an incident packed day of action in the French Top14.

Lyon prop Demba Bamba.
Lyon prop Demba Bamba.
Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

ROMAIN NTAMACK SCORED an early try for Toulouse but the French champions had to scrap hard to secure a narrow 17-15 win at Montpellier in round three of the Top 14 on Saturday, which maintains their perfect start to the season and their place at the top of the table.

However an incident-packed day also saw Castres lock Ryno Pieterse red-carded for a shocking late tackle, while Lyon coach Pierre Mignoni revealed prop Demba Bamba had been racially abused last weekend.

Reigning champions Toulouse were leading 17-10 against Montpellier but had to play the last five minutes with just 13 men on the field because of a yellow card and a lack of props. Vincent Rattez pulled back a try for the home side but Paolo Garbisi missed the touchline conversion which would have levelled the scores.

Montpellier then had a line-out inside the Toulouse 22 but prop Enzo Forletta spilled the ball as he drove towards the Toulouse line, allowing the champions to escape with the tightest of victories.

France fly-half Ntamack struck first with a try in the first minute which Thomas Ramos converted.

Early in the second half, Ntamack then set centre Lucas Tauzin away for Toulouse’s second try. Scrum-half Martin Doan reduced the gap for the home side but Montpellier had to concede their first loss of the season and settle for a defensive bonus point.

Toulouse made it three wins out of three and head the Top 14 table with 13 points, three ahead of Lyon, Brive and Castres.

Meanwhile a late penalty by Benjamin Urdapilleta saw Castres grab a last gasp draw at home to Bordeaux-Begles, in a game marred by a horror tackle by Castres’ South African lock Ryno Pieterse.

Castres, who had won their opening two matches, took the early initiative through Gaetan Barlot’s seventh minute try but three Francois Trinh-Duc penalties kept Bordeaux in touch.

They trailed 13-9 at the break but soon took control of the match with Ben Lam and Cameron Woki both touching down shortly after the restart.

Uruguayan scrum-half Santiago Arata burrowed his way through to give Castres hope on the hour although their hopes appeared to be dashed shortly after when Pieterse was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Maxime Lucu.

Four minutes from time, however, an ever-cool Urdapilleta stepped up to level the match at 23-23.

Lyon ran in seven tries in a 47-3 hammering of Perpignan, and following the game Lyon coach Pierre Mignoni revealed France prop Demba Bamba was the target of racist comments on social networks after the club’s defeat to Pau last Saturday.

“This afternoon, he responded (on the field) to some very unpleasant criticism on social networks,” said Mignoni after his side’s 47-3 thrashing of Perpignan in the Top 14.

“We are falling into a world of imbeciles. Criticism is not a problem. Insults about the colour of someone’s skin, that is different. I expect Demba Bamba to repeat these performances. I wanted to give him the opportunity to bounce back.”

Bamba, who has won 16 caps for France, said the abuse was “anonymous”.

“I was not looking for revenge. I focused on myself, I stayed close to my teammates,” added the 23-year-old.

On Thursday, French second division player Ludo Radosavljevic was banned for 26 weeks for racially abusing a Cameroonian player.

Elsewhere on Saturday, English fly-half Brett Herron produced a masterclass with the boot, claiming 23 points as promoted Biarritz stunned visitors Racing 92 28-19.

The former Ulster and Harlequins playmaker was in devastating form with the boot, on target with a conversion and seven penalties as he punished a series of indiscretions from the Parisians who had started the season with back-to-back wins.

With the rain falling at the Stade Aguilera, Herron missed an early sighter, his only failure of the afternoon, but soon put Biarritz on the board.

Home hooker Lucas Peyresblanques muscled over from close range but Racing hit back when Kurtley Beale set up Juan Imhoff for a try. Herron’s boot, though, gave Biarritz a 13-5 lead at the break.

He then popped over another five penalties in the second half as Biarritz took a grip on the match.

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Racing did spark on the hour when hooker Camille Chat notched their second try and three minutes from time Baptiste Chouzenoux also plunged over but it was not enough to save Racing from their first defeat of the season.

“We had a great time winning like that and I think the public enjoyed it too,” said Biarritz captain Romain Lonca. “I think we deserved it.”

Earlier in the day Brive recorded a comfortable 30-13 hom win over Pau.

“We had to take them by the throat, impose our rhythm,” said Brive’s Irish coach Jeremy Davidson. 

New Zealand coach Jono Gibbes got the better of former employers La Rochelle as Clermont edged a 23-22 win in the pouring rain at Stade Marcel-Michelin.

Fijian forward Peceli Yato and 20-year-old French centre Tani Vili scored Clermont’s tries while back-rower Matthias Haddad’s last-gasp score allowed La Rochelle to take home a defensive bonus point.

La Rochelle, last season’s losing Top 14 and Champions Cup finalists, are still without a win this season.

© – AFP, 2021

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey discuss Ireland’s World Cup qualification campaign, the dressing-room debacle which overshadowed the interpros, and where Irish women’s rugby goes from here.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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