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Bordeaux-Begles reclaim top spot while O'Gara's La Rochelle move up the table

La Rochelle registered six tries as they hammered Agen this afternoon to move up to fourth.

La Rochelle coach Ronan O'Gara (file pic).
La Rochelle coach Ronan O'Gara (file pic).
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

ARGENTINA WINGER SANTIAGO Cordero scored two tries as Bordeaux-Begles regained first place in the French Top 14 with a 27-23 victory at Pau.

Bordeaux-Begles had temporarily dropped to second spot following Lyon’s convincing victory over Bayonne on Saturday but they are now two points clear.

Pau, who were without suspended ex-All Blacks fullback Ben Smith, move up to 10th thanks to a late bonus point.

“Obviously being the leaders in December is good but what we want is to be top at the end of the season,” Bordeaux-Begles coach Christophe Urios said.

“The game went as I imagined, apart from the last 10 minutes, which we could have managed better,” he added.

Australia back-rower Scott Higginbotham crossed for the visitors on 23 minutes after Antoine Hastoy had slotted an early penalty for the home side at the Stade du Hameau.

Pau, without a league win since 9 November, were back in the lead less than 10 minutes later with Vincent Pinto’s effort.

But Cordero, 24, touched down twice in a 10-minute spell either side of the break after two clever kicks from one-time France international Mathieu Jalibert.

Bordeaux-Begles were awarded a penalty try with 20 minutes to go after pressure inside the Pau half but the home side closed the gap to 27-20 on 67 minutes as New Zealander Daniel Ramsay dotted down.

Despite Pau’s late efforts, including a Hastoy penalty which clinched a defensive bonus point, the travelling side held on to go back to the top and stretched their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions.

Elsewhere, La Rochelle — coached by Ronan O’Gara — scored six tries as they hammered Agen 40-8 to move up to fourth in the table and Clermont survived a valiant Castres second-half fightback to win 39-22.

Later, title holders Toulouse host Toulon with France scrum-half Antoine Dupont set to make his first appearance for the home side since suffering a back injury at the World Cup in October.

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On Saturday, South Africa World Cup winner Handre Pollard scored his first try for Montpellier in a 20-20 draw with bottom side Stade Francais. 

© – AFP, 2019

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