Montpellier's Jan Serfontein (C) runs with the ball during the French Top 14 rugby union match against Stade Francais Paris
Bordeaux (AFP) - Montpellier gained a precious bonus point as they beat Stade Francais on Saturday evening to retake first place in the Top 14 from La Rochelle, who drew at last-place Oyonnax.
On a day of last-minute scores in the Top 14, Oyonnax twice struck late on Saturday to draw 38-38 with second-placed La Rochelle while Brive scored at the end to edge Toulon, 13-12.
In other matches, Bordeaux, in their first game under English coach Rory Teague, smothered Lyon 19-10 and Agen crushed third-place Castres 30-3.
La Rochelle picked up two points for the draw and opened the door for Montpellier who played in the evening.
Montpellier were caught cold by a try from one of their former players Marvin O’Connor in the 14th minute but responded with a try of their own by Aaron Cruden four minutes later and added three more, the last by Nemani Nadolo with 15 minutes still to play to seal the bonus point.
La Rochelle had led by ten points with two minutes left on the clock in Oyonnax.
Then Maxime Veau touched down and Ben Botica converted. The two teams played seven extra minutes before Botica ended the match by kicking a penalty to earn the home team a draw.
La Rochelle finished with five tries, Oyonnax with four.
It was to some extent a hollow exploit for the rock-bottom “Oyomen” who lost ground in the standings as Brive and Agen both won and are now nine points adrift at the foot of the table.
Castres had not lost in two months but their run of seven straight victories ended in emphatic fashion as Agen scored three second-half tries.
Oyonnax' French centre Maxime Veau (L) scores a try despite a tackle from La Rochelle's Fijian fullback Kini Murimurivalu
Agen led 6-3 at the break but had already touched down twice by the time Castres loose forward Maama Vaipulu was sent off in the 63rd minute.
Entering the final seconds in Brive, last season’s losing Top 14 finalists Toulon led by six points thanks to three penalties by Francois Trinh-Duc and one by Anthony Belleau, only for Benjamin Lapeyre to storm over for the only try of the game.
Gaetan Germain then landed the conversion to give the home team victory.
Germain, who had come on for Arnaud Mignardi in the ninth minute, had also kicked two penalties for Brive who showed they are improving as they followed up their win over Montpellier to record two straight victories.
In Bordeaux, the home team dispatched Lyon 19-10 in a cagey mid-table match.
Under new management – Jacques Brunel has left to coach the French national team – and faced with a largely toothless Lyon team, Bordeaux offered a minimalist brand of rugby with an emphasis on tactical kicking.
Lyon's Felix Lambey grabs the ball during their French Top 14 match against Bordeaux, which Bordeaux won 19-10
Mathieu Jalibert was again perfect with the boot as he kicked 14 points but Bordeaux created few dangerous chances until Marco Tauleigne made the breakthrough with their only try after 61 minutes.
Lyon scored a last-gasp try when Jean-Marcelin Buttin crossed the line to save a little honour.