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Toulouse maintains French rugby dominance after beating Clermont

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

PARIS - Four-time European champions Toulouse remained unbeatable at their Ernest-Wallon fortress this league season with a 19-12 victory over Top 14 leaders Clermont on Sunday.

Clermont's Australian No.10 Brock James kicked the first of three penalties to open the scoring, but the hosts quickly countered thanks to Maxime Medard's converted try.

It was the only try of the match.

A mouth-watering match-up between the most successful team in French rugby history and the side considered to be the best in the business currently promised much, particularly during an intriguing first period.

But ultimately the clash failed to live up to expectations as it petered out into a turgid second half.

The win was crucial for Toulouse as they moved up to fourth in the table with a ninth home win out of nine this season, offsetting their appalling away form that has resulted in seven losses from seven trips. Such was their struggles to breach Toulouse's impregnable defence that Clermont seemed to settle for a losing bonus point that took them three-points clear of second-placed Stade Francais.

Stade Francais maintained second place with an 18-6 win at hapless basement-sitters Biarritz on Saturday. European champions Toulon dropped to fifth as a last-gasp converted interception try from Fiji wing Alipate Ratini gave Grenoble a shock 22-21 victory at the Stade Mayol.

Champions Castres are up to third after their 15-9 win over Bordeaux-Begles on Friday.

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