Lezignan made to struggle at Toulouse

Lezignan, who have announced the signing of ex-Catalans and Salford threequarter Krisnan Inu to add to their other high-profile recruits James Maloney and Jason Baitieri, were not able to call on their new stars for their game at Toulouse.

By half-time, they must have felt in need of reinforcements after the Olympique second string scored three tries to lead 18-10.

But the second half was much more to the visitors’ advantage as another new signing, much-travelled forward Sébastien Martins, led the charge with a try which put his side on the way to a 34-18 win.

In their first outing, Villeneuve, who had a bye in the opening round, fell at home to Avignon, who hit back from a 12-8 half-time deficit to win 19-12.

Villeneuve have lost four key players from last season – forwards Eddy Pettybourne, Lucas Vergniol and Lasarusa Tabu, and most importantly halfback Stan Robin, who has joined Limoux.

For most of last season, Avignon and Villeneuve were vying for fifth and sixth places, but with their presently weakened squad, the Leopards will find it harder to compete for a top-six spot.

In the first half, a converted try from Villeneuve centre Gavin Marguerite, converted by Thomas Lasvenes, was countered by Avignon’s Jack Payne, supporting Fabien Jullien’s break, and Olivier Arnaud’s two goals.

Villeneuve took the lead when winger Hamza Bachoukh went over and Lasvenes again converted from wide out, but the more the game progressed, the more Avignon dominated.

Centre Baptiste Avis brought the sides to 12-12 with ten minutes to go, before Jullien went over under the posts, Arnaud goaled and fullback Rémi Andreu landed a field-goal for a deserved victory.

Carcassonne, last season’s beaten finalists, were given a fright at home to Albi, who did not even make the top six play-offs.

Albi led 8-6 at half-time with the help of promising 19-year old halfback Baptiste Fabre, who kicked ahead for himself, touched down and converted.

After Carcassonne’s Sophien Bitigri and Albi winger Nittim Pedrero exchanged tries, the home team clawed their way back and two tries in the last 15 minutes, from Vincent Albert and a second from Georgy Gambaro, saw them through to victory by 18-12.

St Gaudens suffered another heavy defeat when they were hammered 60-10 at home by Limoux, who scored 38 second-half points without reply.

Carcassonne 18 Albi 12
St Gaudens 10 Limoux 60
Toulouse 18 Lezignan 34
Villeneuve 12 Avignon 19
Bye: St Estève-XIII Catalan

Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 November
Albi v Villeneuve
Avignon v St Esteve-XIII Catalan
Lezignan v Carcassonne
Toulouse v St Gaudens
Bye: Limoux
Dates and times tbc

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