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Stunning Ntamack try guides Toulouse to victory as Top 14 returns


Reigning Top 14 champions Toulouse started their 2021-22 campaign with a narrow win over La Rochelle thanks to a sensational try from France fly-half Romain Ntamack.

La Rochelle led 16-9 thanks to Jules Favre’s 19th minute converted try and three penalties from Jules Plisson, though faded after William Skelton was sent off with 23 minutes to go.

Thomas Ramos’ fourth penalty narrowed the gap to four points, before Ntamack’s 66th-minute try and another late penalty from Ramos saw a Toulouse side also featuring Cyril Baille and Antoine Dupont prevail 20-16.

Elsewhere, Racing 92 started their season with an impressive 36-21 win over hosts Stade Francais.

A Racing side starring Les Bleus stars Gaël Fickou and Bernard Le Roux were 20-6 ahead at half-time largely due to tries from Camille Chat and Donovan Taofifénua, with a third try from Olivier Klemenczak in the second half.

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All three tries were converted in addition to five penalties also scored – three of which came from the boot of Maxime Machenaud – while Sefa Naivalu and Kylan Hamdaoui were the try scorers for the hosts.

Meanwhile, Toulon and Montpellier drew against each other to start their seasons.

Eight Anthony Belleau penalties for a Toulon side featuring Italy legend Sergio Parisse saw them lead until the dying stages, when Zach Mercer’s 81st minute try helped Montpellier level at 24-24.

Other eye-catching results included an impressive win for CA Brive over Perpignan.

Two converted tries in the first half from Enzo Herve and Tevita Ratuva, and a third in the second half from Setareki Bituniyaka, aided Brive in a 36-15 victory against a Perpignan side whose points came from five Tristan Tedder penalties.

An ASM Clermont side featuring Morgan Parra were unable to get their campaign off to a strong start, with their visit to Lyon ending in 28-19 victory for the home side with Ethan Dumortier scoring two tries.

Biarritz Olympique picked up an impressive 27-15 victory against Bordeaux-Bègles, with a try, three conversions and two penalties from Brett Herron key for the home side.

Castres also defeated Pau, with Benjamin Urdapilleta the sole try scorer in the 16-12 victory.