French Rugby League round-up

Carcassonne brought Lézignan’s ten-match unbeaten run since the start of the season to a close as they defeated the leaders 31-18 in a stormy game.

With Limoux having a blank weekend, the Canaries move up to second in the table.

Despite recent patchy form which led to two defeats in three games, Carcassonne gave a more controlled performance in a game which produced a flurry of seven yellow cards and one red – for Lézignan’s Benjamin Tort, who spoke out of turn from the bench.

In a stop-start second period, Carcassonne led 17-6 until James Maloney’s try and conversion narrowed the gap.

Centre Vincent Albert stretched the margin again, taking full advantage of Lézignan’s hash of a 20-metre restart.

A second field-goal and a penalty-goal from Clément Herrero extended the home lead to 24-12.

But again, in a match full of twists and turns, Lézignan’s Jean-Baptiste Bousquet went over direct from a scrum, Maloney goaling to narrow the deficit once more to six points.

In the 75th minute, Carcassonne forward Jowasa Drodrolagi, backing up, settled the issue with a try near the posts. Herrero’s conversion and third field-goal sent an indisciplined Lézignan home without even a bonus point.

It was a third close win in a row for St Estève-XIII Catalan, who beat Avignon 32-24 after racing to a 20-0 lead within the first half hour.

A second-half fightback by Avignon, with Fijian secondrow Pio Seci’s two tries matching the two scored by centre Louis Carré for the Catalans, took the visitors within reach of their hosts, as Olivier Arnaud strode under the posts.

But despite a strong finish, Renaud Guigue’s men left it too late to show their capabilities.

Albi have hit their best form, following up their win over Carcassonne with a comprehensive 41-16 victory at Villeneuve, who fell to their third defeat in a row.

The Leopards, with several players missing through injury, trailed from the start and were 19-6 down at the end of the first half.

Albi increased their lead with tries from former Huddersfield, Leigh and NRL hooker Nathan Peats and a second from Tristan Dupuy.

Davy Escoder crossed for the hosts’ second try, Farid Nicolas having scored the first, but Albi soon countered with a second from Pedrero.

Dimitri Biscarro went over for the Leopards’ third, but Albi half-back Jack Cook had the last word, Fabre converting for the sixth time.

The scheduled fixture between St Gaudens and Toulouse was postponed after the home side wanted to play on Saturday rather than Sunday but Toulouse refused.

Carcassonne 31 Lézignan 18
St Estève-XIII Catalan 32 Avignon 24
Villeneuve 16 Albi 41
St Gaudens v Toulouse postponed
Bye: Limoux

Sunday, March 6
St Gaudens v Albi15:00

The next full round of fixtures takes place on the weekend of March 12/13, as follows:
Albi v St Estève-XIII Catalan
Avignon v Limoux
Lézignan v Villeneuve
Toulouse v Carcassonne
Bye: St Gaudens
Dates and times TBA.

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