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22 April 2024

Unbeaten Lyon stay top in France with Racing win

Photo: AFP


League leaders Lyon maintained their unbeaten start to the French Top 14 season with a 31-20 victory over Racing 92 on Saturday, but conceded their first tries of the campaign.

Argentina winger Juan Imhoff, who missed out on selection in the Pumas' World Cup squad, and full-back Brice Dulin became the first to cross Lyon's line this term as 2016 champions Racing fell to their fourth loss in five games.

French international Noa Nakataici, Hamza Kaabeche and Thibaut Regard dotted down for Pierre Mignoni's side who stretched their advantage at the top of the table to four points over second-placed Bordeaux-Begles, who travel to Montpellier on Sunday.


The defeat leaves Racing, who could see an 11th player selected for the World Cup with prop Cedate Gomes Sa the favourite to replace injured Demba Bamba in France's squad, one from bottom.

A first-half scuffle between a majority of the players which resulted in Racing scrum-half Teddy Iribaren and Lyon's Mickael Ivaldi spend 10 minutes in the bin marred the fixture in Paris.

Earlier in the day, Toulon head coach Patrice Collazo said his side "killed themselves" in the 39-17 defeat to promoted Brive, who moved off the bottom of standings thanks to a perfect goal-kicking display from Thomas Laranjeira.

Big-spending Toulon, who have signed the likes of South Africa's Eben Etzebeth and Italy's Sergio Parisse for this campaign but are without the pair due to their World Cup commitments, fell to their third defeat of the season.

Fellow new arrivals in Olympic gold medallist Masivesi Dakuwaqa and one-time South Africa international Louis Schreuder both made their first starts for Collazo's outfit at Stade Amedee-Domenech.

"We gave Brive 20 points in the opening 20 minutes. That context made it difficult to get back into the game," Collazo said.

"When we got back into it, we killed ourselves all on our own," he added.

A minute's silence was held before kick-off for ex-French president Jacques Chirac, a former member of parliament for the local Correze region for almost 30 years, who died on Thursday after a long battle with deteriorating health.

On Sunday, the late fixture sees Stade Francais, who slipped to 14th spot due to Brive's win, host last year's losing finalists Clermont.