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Leaders lose in France and England

Lille lost their lead in the Top 8 to Montpellier last week ago following a surprise defeat to Bobigny. This weekend Montpellier themselves suffered the same fate, this time to Blagnac. And in England the leaders 100% record came to an end.

Blagnac celebrate their win over French champions Montpellier

Montpellier lost for only the second time this season in a game they should not have been playing at all. The cancellation of their game against Bobigny, and Blagnac’s local derby with Toulouse, resulted in some phonecalls and ultimately the bringing forward of Montpellier’s visit to Blagnac from April 1st to Sunday.

Blagnac began the game just hanging onto fourth place after going down to Rennes last week, and after losing 41-10 to Montpellier at the end of November, began as clear second-favourites to the rampant champions – by far the league’s top scorers and the second meanest defence.

Yes Blagnac began with confidence, taking the lead with a penalty in the opening minutes, before coming back from a Cyrielle Banet try midway through the half to score two tries in the final five minutes to lead 13-7 at halftime.

A second penalty allowed the home team to extend their lead soon after the restart – and the champions could not find a way back. Entering the final ten minutes Blagnac broke through to add two more tries to kill off the game, going on to win 30-14.

It was a defeat that opened the door for Lille to go back to the top but they struggled for most of the game, conceding an early try and only holding a one point lead for most of the game, only taking control at the end of the game to end 21-13 winners.

The final game was a battle for the relegation spot, which saw Bayonne pull themselves out of the drop zone with a bonus point 36-3 win over rivals Romagnat.

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

TB

LB

PTS

Lille

10

9

0

1

255

138

3

1

40

Montpellier

10

8

0

2

313

141

5

1

38

Toulouse

9

6

1

2

185

103

3

2

31

Blagnac

10

6

0

4

213

179

2

2

28

Rennes

10

4

0

6

200

186

2

3

21

Bobigny

9

2

0

7

147

231

1

2

11

Bayonne

10

2

0

8

138

277

1

2

11

Romagnat

10

1

1

8

96

292

1

1

8

 

The weather that hit France also hit England with Darlington Mowden Park against second placed Harlequins called off, but the rest of the programme went ahead.

The headline of the day was Wasps 5-0 win over Saracens, ending the leaders' unbeaten record.Both sides showed plenty of attacking intent but the crucial moment came 12 minutes from time when Saracens lost Bryony Cleall to the sin-bin and England star Danielle Waterman sped past the defence to score. Saracens piled on the pressure late on in search of a try but Wasps’ defence held strong to secure a ninth win of the campaign.

A west country derby saw Gloucester-Hartpury overcome Bristol to move level on 37 points, though Bristol remain fourth. Gloucester coped better with the conditions and lead 12-0 half-time after tries from Ellie Kildunne and Laura Swan. Two tries in five minutes after the restart via Ellie Underwood and Sarah Bern extended the lead. Bristol answered with scores from Lagi Tuima and Sydney Gregson, but a second Underwood try secured the bonus point before Sasha Acheson drove over from short range. Clara Nielson adding a third for Bristol at the death, but the final score was 34-17 to Gloucester.

Loughborough joined the west country duo on 37 points after a 29-0 win against Waterloo. Charlotte Pearce was the star scoring twice in the first quarter give Loughborough a 12-0 lead, with Bethan Zeidler adding the third before half-time. Lizzie Adam’s second-half try then wrapped up the bonus point for the visitors, who finished things off with a score from a rolling maul to complete the scoring.

Finally Worcester had a slightly better day than last week, at home to Richmond, but the visitors still came away with a 29-5 bonus-point thanks to two tries from Zoe Barber and Rowena Burnfield, as well as one from Libby Povey. Brooke Clarke touched down for what was the Valkyries’ only score.

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

+/-

TB

LB

Pts

Saracens

13

12

0

1

507

108

399

11

1

60

Harlequins

12

11

0

1

469

166

303

10

0

54

Wasps

13

9

0

4

355

194

161

9

2

47

Bristol

13

7

0

6

394

233

161

7

2

37

Gloucester

13

7

0

6

343

297

46

9

0

37

Loughborough

13

7

0

6

294

280

14

7

2

37

Richmond

12

5

0

7

190

304

-114

4

0

19

Darlington

11

3

1

7

176

267

-91

3

1

18

Waterloo

13

0

2

11

140

382

-242

0

3

7

Worcester

13

0

1

12

68

705

-637

0

0

2