Agen suffer record 16th successive loss but boss predicts: 'We'll win again'

·3-min read

Hapless French rugby side Agen slumped to their 16th successive defeat on Saturday with a 39-19 loss to Montpellier earning them the unwanted record of the worst ever start to a Top 14 season.

However, defiant boss Regis Sonnes predicted that Agen, based in the south-western city where 16th century astrologer, physician and reputed seer Nostradamus briefly lived, will win a game before the season is over.

"I am sad and disappointed for the players," said Sonnes whose side led 13-8 at half-time and 16-15 on the hour.

However, Montpellier were allowed to run in four second-half tries which proved Agen's undoing.

"But I have no doubt that we will win a match before the end of the season. There will be more opportunities."

He added: "We knew how to win the psychological showdown but we lost because there was tension, a lack of control and panic at key moments."

Perpignan had held the previous run of Top 14 ineptitude when they slumped to 15 losses in a row at the start of the 2018-2019 season.

Agen are rock-bottom of the table with just two bonus points to their name and have not won a game since beating Brive 30-20 on February 22 last year.

At the top, Toulouse went down to their first defeat since November as Lyon carved out a 31-23 win.

Lyon's veteran 35-year-old fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski kicked two drop goals in the first half against his boyhood club before finishing with a 16-point haul.

Fiji-born French international winger Noa Nakaitaci scored two tries, taking his total for the season to eight as Toulouse saw their 11-game unbeaten run end.

Nakaitaci scored a hat-trick last weekend against Racing 92.

La Rochelle scratched out a 16-11 home victory over Stade Francais to move to the head of the table.

La Rochelle took the lead with a try after just five minutes.

From a lineout, scrum-half Thomas Berjon burst through the Stade defence and raced 40 metres to score his first La Rochelle try.

Jules Plisson converted and added a penalty after 17 minutes.

- Lopez at 100% -

Stade winger Telusa Veainu scored his team's unconverted try from an interception in the 44th minute.

Penalties by Plisson and his replacement Ihaia West, sandwiched one by Nicolas Sanchez for the Parisians.

The visitors, who had allowed an average of almost 40 points in their last four away matches, at least stopped the bleeding. They also collected a small reward at the end.

A series of scrums on the La Rochelle line after time had expired yielded only a penalty under the posts.

But when Joris Segonds converted, he cut the losing margin to five points and earned Stade a losing bonus point.

La Rochelle drew level on points with second-placed Racing 92, who beat Castres on Friday.

Bayonne had a day to forget as they were hit by a 10-try blitz at Clermont who romped to a 73-3 triumph.

Camille Lopez converted all 10 tries and added a penalty to mark the second time this season that the 31-year-old fly-half had enjoyed a 100-percent success rate with his boot.

Apisai Naqalevu, Paul Jedrasiak and Peceli Yato scored tries for Clermont in the first half.

A 47th-minute try from Samuel Ezeala, playing for the first time in 15 months due to a knee injury, secured a bonus point.

Morgan Parra, a second try for Yato, Fritz Lee, Jean-Pascal Barraque, Peter Betham and Japanese star Kotaro Matsushima completed the rout.