Agen, “wounded beast” without a coach, loses again as the president chooses the team

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Paris (AFP)

At the bottom of the table Agen lost 19-16 at home to Lyon on Sunday in the French Top 14 in their first game since the dismissal of their coach as President Jean-François Fonteneau chose the team.

Fonteneau sacked Christophe Laussucq and team manager Remi Vaquin in the middle of the week after the 71-5 humiliation last Saturday, a seventh consecutive defeat of the season, at Bordeaux-Begles.

“When there is an electroshock, there is a reaction. We did not miss much against a Lyon team which was eyeing this match against an injured animal, ”declared the businessman Fonteneau.

“We have doubled our points total, we have to stay positive,” he added.

The 57-year-old made nine changes after the hammering at Stade Chaban-Delmas as crosses Jordan Puletua, Sam Vaka and Samoan winger JJ Taulagi were among those to drop.

The hosts, who were reported to have been coached by the academy director and a physiotherapist during the week, opened the scoring when scrum-half Paul Abadie scored a ninth-minute penalty goal.

Abadie traded efforts with visitors’ Jonathan Wisniewski for a 6-6 score after half an hour.

The out side secured the lead at the break as Australian winger Toby Arnold crossed before Wisniewski added a third penalty for a 16-6 advantage in the interval.

Abadie and Wisniewski converted more shots on goal before the Tapu Falatea propeller went off a drive maul and Hugo Verdu’s conversion made 19-16.

Fonteneau’s men regained possession after the restart, but failed to break through Lyon’s defense and were forced to settle for a second bonus point of the campaign.

– La Rochelle go top –

La Rochelle rose to the top of the standings for the first since December 2017 with a 19-10 victory over Clermont at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre.

French full-back Brice Dulin scored the touchdown and Jules Plisson kicked off starting points for the hosts who conceded a home try for the first time since January as Samoa’s Tim Nanai-Williams crossed for the outer side.

“It was difficult, we managed to come together without giving them a bonus point,” said the half-fly Plisson to Canal +.

“We are the first now, which is a very good operation and we are going to Paris next weekend as leaders,” he added.

Two-time Rugby World Cup winner Jerome Kaino injured his ankle on Saturday in Toulouse’s 16-16 draw with local rival Castres.

The trip from the Stade Francai to Montpellier has been postponed due to coronavirus cases among the hosts in the second week of the Top 14 games played behind closed doors due to the lockdown measures introduced in France.

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