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French Top 8’s topsy-turvey weekend

The first Top 8 weekend of the New Year saw shock after shock, with pre-Christmas form almost completely failing to be carried forward.

Lille lose in Rennes - just one of the weekend's shock results (Photo: Ouest-France)

Only one game went anything like to form last weekend. Seventh placed Caen travelled to Toulouse to take on Stade, and the high-flying home team duly took the points – but it was a struggle. Stade lead only 5-0 at half-time, with Caen clearly not reading the script, spending large amounts of time in the home team’s end. Ten minutes into the second half they drew level, and despite Toulouse soon regaining the lead Caen looked like they at least return home with a defensive bonus before a last-minute try gave Toulouse a slightly flattering 17-5 win.

If that game was more or less as expected, elsewhere it was most definitely not.

Newly promoted Romagnat have had a tough first season at the top, losing the first 10 games by an average of over 30 points per game. So a trip to Paris to take on Bobigny looked likely to continue that run. However, Romagnat – for the first time this season – were able to call on their Olympic star, Jessy Tremouliere.

Playing at fly-half, rather than the usual full-back position she plays for France, Tremouliere inspired to team to unprecedented heights. A near faultless kicking display game punished every Bobigny error, giving the visitors a 9-0 lead soon after half-time before three quick tries (all converted) drove the bottom placed team to a 30-0 win – their first win in the Top 8.

Over the river from Stade Toulousian, a second vs third place battle saw Blagnac edge out Montpellier, who had appeared to be on a charge before Christmas, but now lost their first away game of the season 16-13.

BSORF might have expected that this result would move them into second, but when they got home they found that – on the contrary – they were now top. Lille, leaders from the opening week, who had had a lead of over 10 points in early December, fifth placed Rennes… and lost. The result was not even particularly close, as Rennes scored five tries, taking the attacking bonus in a 27-5 win. And if Tremouliere was the star for Romagnat, it was Jade le Pesq who was at the centre of this triumph – Rennes’ fourth win in a row.

The outcome is that all pre-Christmas certainties are now off. Only nine points now separate the top five teams, while who will finish in the bottom is now equally wide open.

And if that is not enough, suggestions that France may return to a Top 10 for next season means that even the question of relegation may not be as certain as it was a few weeks ago.

 

 CLUB

P

W

D

L

PD

BP

 PTS

 1

http://competitions.ffr.fr/images/petit_fleche_rouge.gif  BLAGNAC SAINT ORENS RUGBY FEMININ

 11

 9

 0

 2

 212

 5

 41

 2

http://competitions.ffr.fr/images/petit_fleche_rouge.gif  LILLE METROPOLE RC VILLENEUVOIS

 11

 9

 0

 2

 94

 3

 39

 3

http://competitions.ffr.fr/images/petit_fleche_rouge.gif  MONTPELLIER R C

 11

 7

 0

 4

 175

 7

 35

 4

http://competitions.ffr.fr/images/petit_fleche_rouge.gif  STADE TOULOUSAIN RUGBY FEMININ

 11

 7

 0

 4

 88

 5

 33

 5

http://competitions.ffr.fr/images/petit_fleche_rouge.gif  STADE RENNAIS RUGBY

 11

 7

 0

 4

 26

 4

 32

 6

http://competitions.ffr.fr/images/petit_fleche_rouge.gif  A C BOBIGNY 93 RUGBY

 11

 2

 0

 9

 -70

 5

 13

 7

http://competitions.ffr.fr/images/petit_fleche_rouge.gif  L OVALIE CAENNAISE

 11

 2

 0

 9

 -240

 2

 10

 8

http://competitions.ffr.fr/images/petit_fleche_rouge.gif  A S M ROMAGNAT RUGBY FÉMININ

 11

 1

 0

 10

 -285

 2

 6