Italy fly-half Paolo Garbisi reached 100 points for the season as Montpellier beat Perpignan 30-6 in the French Top 14 on December 4 and Bordeaux-Begles moved above Toulouse to the summit of the table with a 17-7 win.
Garbisi, 21, who started all of the Azzurri’s November internationals kicked 13 of his side’s final tally to keep them third in the table.
“We were patient and it opened up. The Catalans gave a lot in the first half,” Montpellier coach Philippe Saint-Andre told reporters.
“We’re still in the race. It’s our fifth straight win, you can’t forget that.”
Garbisi, the former Treviso stand-off, started in the No10 shirt a week after scoring the 79th-minute winning penalty in last Saturday’s 25-24 win over Castres with South Africa playmaker Handre Pollard on the bench.
The outside-half reached the century mark, just the third player to do so in the league this season, after the hour mark with a penalty goal.
He then showed his ability without the ball as he stopped the Catalans’ replacement scrum-half Matteo Rodor from scoring with a superb last-ditch tackle on his own tryline.
With a quarter of an hour remaining Garbisi was replaced for Springbok Pollard, who according to the BBC and The Times is a target for Leicester Tigers with his deal up at the end of the campaign.
Later, youngster Bastien Vergnes Taillefer scored just his first club try as Bordeaux-Begles went two points clear of record 21-time champions Toulouse at a sold-out Stade Chaban-Delmas.
The greasy conditions hampered both outfits’ attacking intent as the home side overcame the visitors for the first time since August 2019.
The home side’s France fly-half Matthieu Jalibert left the field with a leg injury at half-time after returning to club duty for the first time after last month’s victory over New Zealand.
“I felt a blow on a dead leg that I suffered against the All Blacks. I’ll wait to have an assessment but it’s not looking too good,” Jalibert told Canal+.
“We’re very satisfied tonight in front of our crowd. We’re very happy and we played an accomplished 80 minutes,” he added, with another home match next Saturday against Leicester Tigers in the European Champions Cup.
Elsewhere, 2016 champions Racing 92 lost a third straight game with a 25-3 defeat at Castres.
The Parisians’ lack of form comes a week before the start of the Champions Cup, which has been a long-time target for the three-time losing finalists’ owner Jacky Lorenzetti.
“It’s frustrating. It’s a question of confidence I think,” Racing hooker Teddy Baubigny said before December 3’s trip to Northampton Saints.
“It’s not an easy period. Seasons are long and it’s not because you’re finding it hard in December that you can’t finish in the top six or as champion,” he added with his side four points away from the play-offs.
On Sunday, Stade Francais host La Rochelle, who have been linked with France winger Teddy Thomas with his Racing contract ending in June, according to newspaper Sud-Ouest.