SPORTS

Botia’s Try Keeps Club On Track

Tough Fijian centre turned flanker Levani Botia scored a try for La Rochelle as they beat Lyon 19-15 at the Stade Marcel- Deflandre on Saturday. Alexi Bales kicked 11 points
20 Mar 2018 10:00
Botia’s Try Keeps Club On Track
Tough Fijian centre turned flanker Levani Botia scored a try as La Rochelle returned to their winning ways in the Top 14 competition. Photo: Zimbio

Tough Fijian centre turned flanker Levani Botia scored a try for La Rochelle as they beat Lyon 19-15 at the Stade Marcel- Deflandre on Saturday.

Alexi Bales kicked 11 points as La Rochelle ended their barren run by overcoming Lyon  in a tense affair between two top-six hopefuls.

Considering the performances of Patrice Collazo’s men over the past 18 months, their dip in form has come as a surprise but they appeared revitalised in the opening half against their fellow play-off challengers.

The hosts initially controlled the match and went into the break with a 13-point buffer thanks to Botia’s try and three Bales penalties.

Lyon did respond before the interval via Jonathan Pelissie’s three-pointer, but they needed to up their game in the second half. That the visitors did as Dylan Cretin crossed the whitewash with half-an-hour remaining.

La Rochelle were now under pressure but Arthur Retiere’s effort off the tee eased concerns, despite Alexandre Menini’s late try for Lyon.

 

Naqalevu shines

Former Suva rugby winger Apisai Naqalevu ran in a try for Bordeaux-Begles as they beat Filipe Nakosi’s Agen 15-10 at the Stade Armandie on Saturday.

Bordeaux-Begles finally got back to winning ways – easing concerns of being drawn into a relegation battle – by overcoming fellow bottom half outfit Agen. Rory Teague’s men have struggled over recent weeks but they were much improved in the first half at the Stade Armandie, scoring twice via Blair Connor and Naqalevu.

Pierre Fouyssac responded for Philippe Sella’s side midway through the opening period before Tiaan Schoeman kicked a drop-goal for Bordeaux in the 44th minute.

Jake McIntyre’s penalty kept the hosts in contention and they looked to put pressure on the opposition rearguard late on, but UBB remained resilient to secure a narrow win.

 

Fijians help Racing 92

Racing 92 banked on their Fijian connection to edge out Stade Francais 28-22 in the Top 14 main clash at U Arena on Saturday.

Fiji Rugby Player of the Year award winner Leone Nakarawa was moved back to lock in this most important clash for Racing 92 while Albert Vulivuli played at centre with Virimi Vakatawa coming in as a sub.

Teddy Thomas went over twice as Racing 92 overcame Stade Francais in the Paris derby and move clear in second position. Stade won the reverse fixture between these two back in December and, despite their perilous league position, they were the better side in the opening period at the U Arena.

A yellow card for Zurabi Zhvania and a score for the hosts’ Boris Palu saw the visitors go 7-0 behind but tries from Jimmy Yobo and Marvin O’Connor meant they held a 14-7 advantage at the interval.

Evidently frustrated by their first half performance, Racing made mass changes at half-time and it had the desired effect with Thomas touching down to level matters. The wing then crossed the whitewash for the second time in quick succession as the home side moved in front. Racing were now firmly in control and Marc Andreu effectively completed the win, despite Morne Steyn’s penalty and a late intercept try via Baptiste Lafond.

 

Results: Racing 28-22 Stade Francais, Lyon 15-19 La Rochelle, Agen 10-15 Bordeaux Begles, Oyonnax 29-26 Toulon, Clermont 38-14 Pau, Toulouse 22-14 Montpellier

– Edited by Anasilini Ratuva

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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