Kiwis in Europe: Victor Vito leads La Rochelle over French champions

Victor Vito of La Rochelle runs for ball during the Top 14 match against Stade Francais. Photo/Getty Images
Victor Vito of La Rochelle runs for ball during the Top 14 match against Stade Francais. Photo/Getty Images

La Rochelle, with former All Black Victor Vito to the fore, are further advancing their French Top 14 claims, after defeating champions Racing-Metro 38-15 in Paris on the weekend.

Vito scored a try from No 8, while fellow former Hurricane Jason Eaton was in the No 7 jersey. Former Waikato hooker Hikairo Forbes played off the bench.

Dan Carter kicked a conversion in his first game back from injury and his drink-driving incident, but it was not a happy homecoming for the 35-year-old, as some of the crowd at Stade Yves du Manoir booed him. Ben Tameifuna and Joe Rokocoko also appeared for the Parisians.

Toulouse suffered a 21-19 reverse at Brive. Joe Tekori was lock for Les Toulousains, while Luke McAlister entered the fray off the pine.

Simon Hickey kicked six goals for Bordeaux-Begles in their 46-14 victory over Grenoble. Luke Braid, Hugh Chalmers and Jayden Spence all featured for the victors, while Grenoble fielded Rory Grice and Sona Taumalolo.

Tom Taylor's boot was even more critical to Pau, as they beat Castres 18-12, thanks to his six penalty goals. Daniel Ramsay and Jamie Mackintosh also featured in the pack, while David Smith was on the Castres' left wing.

Montpellier defeated Clermont 28-19, the latter fielding Fritz Lee, Stephen Brett and Benson Stanley.

Ma'a Nonu's Toulon crushed Bayonne, who included Pelu Taele and Tanerau Latimer, 82-14.

A red card to Taisina Tuifua did not prevent Lyon narrowly beating Stade Francais 35-33.

Hosea Gear and Toby Arnold were on the Lyon wings, while off the bench came Mike Harris, Josh Bekhuis, Ti'i Paulo and Tuifua. Off the Stade Francais bench came Paul Williams and Aled de Malmanche.

In a catch-up Guinness PRO12 game, Ulster crushed Zebre 68-21. Charlie Piutau scored a double, while Jared Payne was at fullback for the Irish province.

Former Bay of Plenty halfback Jono Kitto was at No 9 for Leicester Tigers, as they won their Anglo-Welsh Cup semifinal, 32-10 over Saracens, who played Samuela Vunisa at No 8 and former Manu Samoa lock Faatiga Lemalu.

In the other semifinal, Exeter Chiefs beat Harlequins, who had Alofa Alofa, Mat Luamanu and George Naoupu in the mix, 24-7.

The Anglo-Welsh Cup final will be played on Sunday. There will be no Aviva Premiership or Guinness PRO12 action, due to the final round of the Six Nations, but there will be a full board of Top 14 matches.

- NZ Herald

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