Pressure on Stade Francais' ex-Boks coach Meyer after fifth Top 14 loss

by Illtud DAFYDD
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Stade Francais coach Heyneke Meyer has overseen a horror start to the season

Pressure piled on Stade Francais' South African head coach Heyneke Meyer on Saturday after a fifth defeat of the season, 46-16 to Castres, left them bottom of the French Top 14 table.

Meyer, 51, who led the Springboks to the 2015 World Cup, has overseen a dour start to the campaign in his second year in charge of the club backed by German billionaire Hans-Peter Wild.

Local media reported his position at Stade Jean-Bouin would be under threat with further defeats after Stade Francais' worst start to a season since 2003/04.

The Parisians conceded four tries within the first hour and Rory Kockott, Ludo Radosavljevic and Julien Dumora added to Meyer's worries from the boot.

Their only response came from three Morne Steyn penalties and a consolation Ruan Combrinck touchdown.

Later, league leaders Lyon fought back from trailing at half-time to avoid their first defeat of the season by beating second-placed Bordeaux-Begles 25-23.

The visitors claimed a 20-10 advantage at the break through tries from winger Geoffrey Cros and scrum-half Yann Lesgourges after two-time France full-back Jean-Marcellin Buttin crossed on the quarter of an hour mark.

Buttin's second brought the score to 23-18 with a quarter of the game remaining after fly-halves Jonathan Wisnewski and Benjamin Botica slotted penalties.

The comeback was completed with 10 minutes to play as substitute Jean-Marc Doussain scored.

Doussain, who won the last of 28 France caps in 2017, then added the conversion to put his side in the lead for the first time since the 19th minute of play.

The victory moved Lyon, without three players away on Rugby World Cup duty, six points clear of Bordeaux-Begles who lost for the first time this season.

Elsewhere, Australian fly-half Jake McIntyre scored half his side's points as Clermont, without more than 10 squad members due to their participation in Japan, claimed a home win over Montpellier for the first time in five years with a 20-13 victory.

McIntyre, a former Australia Under-20 international, slotted two conversions and a pair of penalties as hooker Mike Tadjer and former All Blacks playmaker Isaia Toeava crossed for last season's runners-up.

Champions Toulouse lost 23-9 at promoted Brive and Bayonne beat Agen 29-27.

On Sunday, 13th-placed Racing 92 head to Pau before three-time former European champions Toulon, who have ex-All Blacks winger Julian Savea on the bench after recovering from flu, welcome La Rochelle.

Stade Francais coach Heyneke Meyer has overseen a horror start to the season

Jean-Marcellin Buttin scored twice as Lyon extended their advantage as Top 14 leaders beating Bordeaux-Begles