Gasnier sparks Stade's first win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gasnier sparks Stade's first win

30/08/2009 07:39:19 AM Comments (0)

Australian centre Mark Gasnier scored two tries as French giants Stade Francais, who had seen some of their squad laid low by swine flu during the week, clinched their first win of the French rugby union season on Saturday.

Defending champions Perpignan ended former European champions Toulouse's perfect start while debt-ridden Bourgoin, whose players have agreed to take pay cuts in order to help keep the team afloat, edged Biarritz to move off the foot of the Top 14 table.

Gasnier struck in the 22nd and 79th minutes as Stade, who were level 13-13 at the break, ran away to beat Montpellier 43-26 with Italian centre Mirco Bergamasco and backrow forward Pascal Pape also scoring.

"Happily, a match lasts 80 minutes," said Stade's Australian coach Ewen McKenzie, who admitted his side are still looking for their right rhythm.

"We conceded 26 points which is not good but scored 43 which is very good. We can score five tries but can lose the ball five times with the final pass.

"We take risks, we like to play with the ball. But you can't play all the time. I'm looking for the right blend."

Toulouse, the 2008 French title winners, were knocked off top spot in a 17-15 defeat at champions Perpignan, for whom centre Maxime Mermoz scored the game's only try in the 63rd minute.

Toulouse are a point behind Clermont, who lead the Top 14 despite being held to a dour 9-9 draw at Brive on Friday.

French international Clement Poitrenaud then added to Toulouse's misery when it was revealed he had suffered a suspected fracture of his left hand in the 33rd minute.

Toulon moved into third spot with a 15-9 win at Albi with England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson kicking five penalties.

Bourgoin, with debts of around 2 million euros ($A3.4 million), saw off Biarritz 22-17, a day after players and coaches agreed to accept pay cuts of between 15 and 18 per cent in exchange for a desperately-needed cash injection of 700,000 euros from former president Gaston Maulin.

Victory was only assured in the last 10 minutes, however, thanks to a penalty and drop goal from fly-half Benjamin Boyet who kicked 17 points in total.

Racing-Metro picked up their second win of the season, a 18-9 win over Bayonne after trailing 9-6 at the break.

Former All Blacks fly-half Andrew Mehrtens kicked three penalties for the Paris side.

The match between Montauban and Castres was postponed on Friday as six players with Castres were also diagnosed with swine flu.

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