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RugbyU: Montpellier down Stade after pointless first half

Montpellier downed Stade Francais 19-10 in the French Top 14 on Friday in a match that had toiled to a 0-0 stalemate at half-time. The win moved Montpellier into second place in the table, three points behind leaders Clermont while Stade slipped a point off the pace in third. Victory was also a welcome boost for a Montpellier side, coached by former Stade boss Fabien Galthie, who had been mauled 42-16 by Clermont last time out.

RugbyU: Trinh-Duc delighted to be back in France contention

He may not have played for France since the last Six Nations but Montpellier fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc has been the happiest man in camp since joining the French squad on Sunday. An injury to current first choice No.10 Remi Tales meant a space opened up in the extended 30-man France squad and coach Philippe Saint-Andre turned to the most experienced pure fly-half he has in 27-year-old Trinh-Duc. "It's going to be hard to wipe (the smile) off my face," said Trinh-Duc when he met the media following his call-up. "This is very, very good for my head."

Tales out, Trinh-Duc back for France against England

PARIS (Reuters) - Flyhalf Remi Tales has pulled out of France's Six Nations opener against England after failing to recover from an arm injury and has been replaced by Francois Trinh-Duc, the French federation said. Fullback Jean-Marcellin Buttin will leave the squad after picking up an injury in a Top 14 game with his Clermont team on Saturday and will be replaced by Marc Andreu, the FFR added.

RugbyU: France call up Trinh-Duc for England clash

Experienced fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc was on Saturday called into the France squad for next weekend's Six Nations opener against England after Remi Tales was forced to withdraw with an arm injury. The 29-year-old Tales, who has five caps, failed to recover from the bicep injury he suffered playing for Castres against Leinster in the European Cup two weeks ago.

RugbyU: Best eyeing Montpellier return

Ireland hooker Rory Best could make a quicker than forecast return to action after being included in Ulster's squad for their European Cup tie against Montpellier on Friday. Best was expected to be sidelined until at least the middle of January after breaking his arm in Ireland's last-gasp 24-22 defeat by New Zealand in Dublin in November. However, the front-row forward was included by Ulster coach Mark Anscombe in the squad he announced on Tuesday. "We'll do the best thing for Rory because there is a lot of big rugby ahead for him and us," Anscombe told the BBC.

RugbyU: Clermont stay top after 69th successive home win

Clermont racked-up their 69th consecutive home win with a bonus-point 35-6 romp past rock-bottom Biarritz on Saturday to maintain their four-point lead over champions Castres and Toulon in the French Top 14. As they had done in their recent back-to-back European Cup wins over Llanelli Scarlets, it took until the second half for Clermont to find top gear after they only led 6-3 at half-time courtesy of two penalties from Mike Delany.

RugbyU: Montpellier's slump continues with Toulon thumping

European champions Toulon produced a commanding performance on Saturday to thrash Montpellier 43-10 in their Top 14 clash inflicting a fifth successive defeat on Fabien Galthie's out of form side. The crushing bonus point win -- they scored five tries to one -- sent Toulon provisionally top of the table, a point ahead of Clermont, who face bottom side Biarritz later on Saturday.

RugbyU: Ouedraogo extends Montpellier deal

France and Montpellier flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo has extended his contract with the Top 14 side, the club announced on Tuesday. The club said that the 27-year-old Ouedraogo, who has 33 caps, had committed his future to the club where he learned his trade without giving details. "He should commit for two or three years," a source close to the club told AFP, adding: "there were still details to be ironed out."

RugbyU: Reborn Stade back on top in France

Stade Francais took top spot in France on Friday with an 18-11 win over Montpellier as the Paris giants confirmed their status as a rejuvenated force this season. Stade scored two tries, one in each half, to claim a sixth win in eight games and open a four-point lead over European champions Toulon in second place and Montpellier in third. "We expected a match of this level, they came with their best team," said Stade coach Gonzalo Quesada.

RugbyU: Reborn Stade back on top in France

Stade Francais took top spot in France on Friday with an 18-11 win over Montpellier as the Paris giants confirmed their status as a rejuvenated force this season. Stade scored two tries, one in each half, to claim a sixth win in eight games and open a four-point lead over European champions Toulon in second place and Montpellier who are third. The capital city side, reborn under new coach Gonzalo Quesada, have endured a lean time in France in the last four seasons, finishing in eighth, 11th, seventh and 10th place.
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