Racing Metro scored two late tries to pick up a bonus point win at home to Lyon as they bounced back from last week’s loss at Clermont.
Elsewhere Oyonnax continued their fine home form with a comfortable win over Grenoble, while Bayonne comfortably saw off Brive.
Earlier in the day Clermont picked up their first ever win at Ernest Wallon over Toulouse, handing Guy Noves’ side a third straight loss.
Bayonne 23-6 Brive
Stade Jean Dauger
Brive had four players yellow-carded as Bayonne cruised to a comfortable victory at Jean Dauger.
As they have for much of this season, Nicolas Godignon’s side lost their heads, and that ended up costing them the game against a Bayonne team who controlled proceedings.
The first half was marked by Brive’s indiscipline as the visitors lost three men to yellow cards in the space of 40 minutes, including two sin-binnings for high tackles on Marvin O’Connor.
The first man to go was Simon Pinet, caught for use of the boot on an opponent, and in his absence Bayonne used their numerical advantage to open the scoring.
It started with a powerful rolling maul for the Basques, and when the ball came out, they spread to the wing where Rokocoko had far too much space and was able to go over in the corner.
From out wide Blair Stewart converted to make it 7-0 after quarter of an hour.
In a scrappy game both teams struggled to find their rhythm, but just before the half-hour Brive found themselves a man down once more, Andrew Malilei given a ten-minute rest when he couldn’t get down low enough for a tackle on O’Connor.
He’s not the first player to have struggled with the diminutive winger, and he was soon joined by teammate Dominiko Waqaniburotu for the same offence.
Stewart converted that penalty to extend the lead to ten points, and that was how it stayed until the break, with Brive full-back Gaetan Germain having missed two shots at goal for the visitors.
Germain was in better kicking form after the break, opening Brive’s account on 53 minutes after Charles Ollivon had been penalised.
But the visitors were struggling in the scrum, and they paid the price five minutes later when Kevin Buys was sin-binned, giving Stewart the chance to extend the lead with three more points, which he duly did.
Germain added his second penalty of the afternoon 15 minutes from time but Stewart responded in kind.
And Bayonne then sealed the win at the death when Simon Labouyrie emerged from a pile of bodies after a powerful rolling maul.
The win moves Bayonne out of the bottom two, while Brive are still to pick up a point on their travels, having picked up four yellow cards on both occasions.
Tries: Rokocoko, Labouyrie
Conversions: Stewart 2
Penalties: Stewart 2
Penalties: Germain 2
Yellow Cards: Pinet, Malilei, Waqaniburotu, Buys
Bayonne: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Mathieu Ugalde, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Marvin O’Connor, 10 Blair Stewart, 9 Guillaume Rouet, 8 Charles Ollivon, 7 Dwayne Haare, 6 Mark Chisholm (c), 5 Lisiate Fa’aoso, 4 Dewald Senekal, 3 Gert Muller, 2 Anthony Etrillard, 1 Aretz Iguiniz
Replacements: 16 Simon Labouyrie, 17 Janse van Rensburg, 18 Giorgi Jgenti, 19 Opeti Fonua, 20 Jean Monribot, 21 Christophe Loustalot, 22 Pierre Gayraud, 23 Jon Elissalde
Brive: 15 Gaetan Germain, 14 Benito Masilevu, 13 Arnaud Mignardi, 12 Andrew Malilei, 11 Guillaume Namy, 10 Thomas Laranjeira, 9 Jean-Baptiste Pejoine, 8 Petrus Hauman, 7 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 6 Poutasi Luafutu, 5 Peet Marais, 4 Simon Pinet, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Guillaume Ribes, 1 Johannes Coetzee
Replacements: 16 Thomas Acquier, 17 Goderdzi Shvelidze, 18 Arnaud Mela, 19 Sisa Koyamaibole, 20 Benjamin Neveu, 21 Riaan Swanepoel, 22 Elia Radikedike, 23 Damien Jourdain
Referee: Laurent Cardona
Oyonnax 40-27 Grenoble
Stade Charles Mathon
Oyonnax saw off Grenoble 40-27 in an entertaining encounter at Charles Mathon with Benjamin Urdapilleta in fine form for the hosts.
In a thrilling first half, Oyonnax made the quicker start, taking the lead through a Urdapilleta penalty.
They extended the lead on eight minutes when Maurie Fa’asavalu, who arrived from Harlequins over the off-season, showed his dexterity to score, initially breaking through a tackle before sidestepping his way over.
Urdapilleta converted, and added another a penalty after James Hart had responded with a penalty of his own for Grenoble.
Hart, starting for the first time this season, added another penalty just before the half-hour to cut the deficit to seven, but Oyonnax responded immediately.
Winger Maxime Le Bourhis had a simple run-in when he collected the ball off the back of a rolling maul, and Urdapilleta converted from in front to make it 20-6 to the home side.
Another penalty from Urdapilleta extended the lead for Oyonnax, but Grenoble stayed in touch thanks to Hart.
The scrum-half was on the end of some great work by hooker Laurent Bouchet who collected a high ball before breaking a tackle and offloading to Hart to dive over.
The Irishman converted to cut the deficit to 23-13 with two minutes left before half-time.
However they weren’t able to hold out until the break, with Dug Cudjo finding himself in space in the visiting 22 with just a prop to beat. That proved no problem for the winger, and Urdapilleta’s conversion made it 30-13 at half-time.
Grenoble made the better start to the second half, scoring their second try after just two minutes through Daniel Kilioni. The winger was the beneficiary of a huge run from Rory Grice, collected a pass out of the tackle to score. Hart converted once more for Grenoble.
The crazy game started to calm down a little, with Oyonnax doing enough to keep Grenoble at bay, and they were able to extend their lead with 12 minutes remaining when Urdapilleta slotted his fourth penalty of the afternoon.
That settled Oyonnax’s nerves, and they added another try when Urdapilleta chipped over the Grenoble defence, with Pierre Aguillon collecting to score.
There was still time for a late consolation for Grenoble, with Kevin Goze powering over with time up.
Tries: Fa’asavalu, Le Bourhis, Codjo, Aguillon
Conversions: Urdapilleta 4
Penalties: Urdapilleta 4
Yellow Card: Tichit
Tries: Hart, Goze
Conversions: Hart, Michallet
Penalties: Hart 2
Yellow Card: Caminati
Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos (c), 14 Dug Codjo, 13 Pierre Aguillon, 12 Hemani Paea, 11 Maxime Le Bourhis, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Agustin Figuerola, 8 Viliame Ma’afu, 7 Christophe Andre, 6 Maurie Fa’asavalu, 5 Damian Browne, 4 Leon Power, 3 Ruaan du Preez, 2 Jody Jenneker, 1 Soane Tonga’uiha
Replacements: 16 Clement Jullien, 17 Marc Clerc, 18 Miroslav Nemecek, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Fabien Cibray, 21 Regis Lespinas, 22 Guillaume Bousses, 23 Antoine Tichit
Grenoble: 15 Fabien Gengenbacher (c), 14 Daniel Kilioni, 13 Geoffrey Messina, 12 Chris Farrell, 11 Julien Caminati, 10 Jordan Michallet, 9 James Hart, 8 Florian Faure, 7 Mahamadou Diaby, 6 Henry Vanderglas, 5 Hendrik Roodt, 4 Ross Skeate, 3 Richard Choirat, 2 Laurent Bouchet, 1 Remy Hugues
Replacements: 16 Anthony Hegarty, 17 Albertus Buckle, 18 Ben Hand, 19 Peter Kimlin, 20 Rory Grice, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Xavier Mignot, 23 Kevin Goze
Referee: Romain Poite
Racing Metro 28-11 Lyon
Stade Yves du Manoir
Marc Andreu scored twice as Racing Metro battled to a bonus point 28-11 win over Lyon.
Racing Metro dominated the first half, taking full advantage of a passive Lyon defence to make ground regularly.
Alexandre Dumoulin, in particular, proved a real problem for the visitors running with purpose every time he got the ball.
It was the forwards though, who set up the first try after just six minutes, putting the pressure on with a rolling maul from a lineout.
Lyon kept them out initially as the home side drifted to the right, but after the umpteenth pick and go, Maxime Machenaud spotted a gap in the ruck defence and dived over the pile of bodies to dot down.
The try was awarded after consultation with the TMO, and Machenaud added the simple conversion.
Two minutes later Racing were in again as Lyon looked like they were in for a thrashing.
It started with a powerful charge from Juandre Kruger, who made huge ground down the right, and inevitably when the play switched flanks, the visitors were out of numbers.
That meant that Andreu, fit again after an injury that ruled him out of the end of last season, had the simplest of run-ins, although Machenaud’s conversion from in front went wide.
It was one-way traffic, but Racing blew a number of golden opportunities to extend their lead, and it was Lyon who opened their account after 25 minutes through a Jerome Porical penalty.
Racing continued to dominate, and looked like they might score another try when Bernard Le Roux burst through, but when the ball was knocked on, the referee came back for an offside, and Benjamin Dambielle, taking over from Machenaud, made it 15-3, which was how it stayed until the break.
After half-time Racing continued in the same fashion as they had ended the first half, and earned an early penalty after Dimitri Szarzewski made a huge break. Lyon were pinged for rushing offside and Dambielle made no mistake to stretch the lead to 18-3.
It was difficult to see a way back for the visitors, but they did score next through winger Franck Romanet. After finally threatening the home side down the right, Lyon switched play and Lyon took advantage of the overlap on the left to send Romanet over.
Lyon felt they really had a sniff, and they found themselves with an extra man soon after when Racing’s accumulation of penalties resulted in Virgile Lacombe being sin-binned.
Lachie Munro, who had replaced Stephen Brett, added a penalty, and Romanet almost had his second try when he slalomed his way through the Racing defence, only to be hauled down five metres out.
However Racing slowed the ball down illegally and were penalised, with Lyon boldly choosing the scrum rather than taking the simple penalty.
On this occasion fortune did not favour the brave, as the home side were penalised at the set-piece for a marginal binding decision.
That allowed Racing to clear their lines, and Lyon challenge faded when Karim Ghezal was sin-binned for taking out Wenceslas Lauret in a lineout, although Dambielle missed the resulting penalty.
And Racing finished in style with a magnificent individual try from Brice Dulin.
The full-back showed his quick feet to leave George Smith for dead before going around Lachie Munro to score.
With just a minute remaining the bonus point was back on the cards for Racing, and they took their chance, claiming the restart before young centre Etienne Dussartre made ground through the middle.
The ball was then spread wide and Andreu was on his own to score in the corner.
For Racing Metro:
Tries: Machenaud, Andreu 2, Dulin
Penalties: Dambielle 2
Yellow Card: Lacombe
Penalties: Porical 2
Yellow Card: Ghezal
Racing Métro: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Alexandre Dumoulin, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Benjamin Dambielle, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski (c), 1 Julien Brugnaut
Replacements: 16 Virgile Lacombe, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Fabrice Metz, 19 Camille Gerondeau, 20 Mike Phillips, 21 Etienne Dussartre, 22 Benjamin Lapeyre, 23 Brian Mujati
Lyon: 15 Jerome Porical, 14 Toby Arnold, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Franck Romanet, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Mathieu Loree, 8 Masi Matadigo, 7 Francois Viljoen, 6 Eugene N’Zi, 5 Simon Njewel, 4 Karim Ghezal, 3 Horatiu Pungea, 2 Jean-Philippe Bonrepaux, 1 Emmanuel Felsina
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Jeremy Castex, 18 Coenie Basson, 19 George Smith, 20 Lachie Munro, 21 Waisele Sukanaveita, 22 Thibaut Regard, 23 Anthony Roux
Referee: Maxime Chalon
* Planet Rugby