Stade Francais aided their Top 14 play-off hopes by comfortably overcoming Castres 32-16 and moving to within touching distance of the top-six.
After a good start to the season, Heyneke Meyer’s men have struggled in the second half of the campaign, but they were too good for the visitors on Saturday, going 29-6 up at half-time.
Paul Gabrillagues, Arthur Coville, Jonathan Danty and Siegfried Fisi’ihoi all touched down before the break and, although Wilfrid Hounkpatin responded for Christophe Urios’ men, the Parisians secured a comfortable win.
Castres had began well, going 3-0 ahead via Benjamin Urdapilleta’s penalty but, following a yellow card for Thibault Lassalle, Stade controlled matters.
Gabrillagues powered over for their first try before two scores in as many minutes from Coville and Danty took the hosts 19-3 ahead.
Lassalle returned to the field having seen his side concede three times but they briefly regained their composure as Urdapilleta added his second off the tee.
Sanchez made sure Castres would not come back, however, with a penalty and then Fisi’ihoi completed an outstanding half for Stade by crossing the whitewash.
The second period wasn’t as exciting or as dominant as the first and, in fact, the home side conceded through Hounkpatin, but they still gained the full five.
Their defence was stout and, after Urdapilleta and Sanchez traded three-pointers, the Parisians completed a fine win.
At the bottom of the table, Perpignan edged closer to Grenoble in the Top 14 after a 22-16 win over the 13th placed side at the Stade Aime Giral.
Enzo Selponi, who inspired their only previous victory this season against Montpellier, was once again to the fore, kicking 17 points, while Jonathan Bousquet touched down as they cut the gap to eight points.
In the early game, Lyon improved their play-off chances by gaining a 42-33 triumph over Toulon. It took them a while to get going, with the visitors scoring twice via JP Pietersen and a penalty try in the opening 41 minutes, but efforts from Toby Arnold, Carl Fearns, Mickael Ivaldi and Thibaut Regard gave Pierre Mignoni’s men the win.
Montpellier also helped their top-six ambitions by sealing a 24-15 result at Pau. They touched down three times via Jacques du Plessis, Timoci Nagusa and Fulgence Ouedraogo, meaning Julien Fumat and Watisoni Votu tries were not enough for the hosts.
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