Agen edge Perpignan as Top 14 minnows dig in

Agen (France) (AFP) –


Agen put their backroom worries and a painful opening day thumping behind them on Sunday when they edged promoted Perpignan 25-23 in a Top 14 encounter between two sides tipped for relegation.

Agen took a hiding going down 67-23 at Clermont last weekend and then announced midweek that their inspirational coach Mauricio Reggiardo would be moving on to Castres next season.

Reggiardo's charges quickly racked up three tries Sunday with two from Jake McIntyre either side of Sam Vaka's effort.

But they were pegged back as Perpignan, who lost down 46-15 to Stade Francais last week, rallied in a no-holds-barred bid for the points after Enzo Selponi got their second try on 68 minutes.

"We needed this win. That was a really high pressure match. Those four points will give us a bit of peace of mind this week," said Reggiardo.

"But we have work to do, that was not a mature performance and we failed to respect our opponents at a key moment of the game," he said.

Perpignan boss Christian Lanta said his side were kicking themselves for failing to turn their late rally into points.

"Even after the last penalty there were three times we could have scored a try," he said.

"But that was a balanced and brave performance and we showed some of the qualities that got us promoted," he said.

"We got it badly wrong against Stade Francais, it was a step forward, and step after step we can go a long way," he insisted.

Toulon gave debuts to their two All Black recruits on Saturday but still lost for the second time in the French Top 14 this season, beaten 20-10 at Pau.

Reigning champions Castres battled back to beat Lyon 19-16 and ambitious Stade Francais also made it two wins in two by seeing off Bordeaux-Begles 20-8.