Maddocks' Pau take shock Top 14 lead as Laporte loses on return

Jack Maddocks and Pau have continued their dream start to the season. Photo: AFP
Jack Maddocks and Pau have continued their dream start to the season. Photo: AFP

Australian fullback Jack Maddocks' Pau have stormed to the top of the Top 14 ladder after a thumping 30-6 win over  Stade Francais.

Uncapped English fly-half Joe Simmonds slotted 15 points as the surprise packages won their sixth straight game.

Don't miss Super Round 2024 in Melbourne from March 1-3. Get your tickets now! 

Maddocks has been a standout for the Pau, who are usually involved in the relegation scrap, scoring four tries in seven games. This included a double against Lyon, which had him tied for top tryscorer before France winger Damian Penaud became the first player to score four tries in a Top 14 game since 2018 as Bordeaux-Begles hammered Perpignan 46-22.

Whilst the fullback received a yellow card in the first half, it failed to slow down their momentum as former Exeter Chiefs playmaker Simmonds, 26, kept his place as the league's top points-scorer with a fine display.

They will be further boosted by the arrival of New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock next week on a two-year deal.

Racing 92 can leapfrog Pau with a win on Sunday against Ronan O'Gara's La Rochelle, with South Africa's two-time World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi set to make his debut.

Elsewhere, controversial former French rugby federation president and ex-France head coach Bernard Laporte lost his first game as Montpellier director of rugby with a 26-21 defeat by promoted Oyonnax.

Montpellier, champions in 2022, are bottom of the table after seven straight defeats.

"We're a team that is doubting itself, a bit confused," Laporte told Canal+.

"Now the objective is simple, we're playing for safety.

"Everyone has to commit, think only of that, when they wake up in the morning, when they shave, when they go to sleep."

Former Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson scored a try, a conversion, a penalty and a drop goal as Lyon beat Bayonne 42-29 for just their third success of the season.

Fiji winger Setariki Tuicuvu scored twice as Toulon easily overcame Castres 41-19 to temporarily move to the summit of the table.

His fellow winger Gael Drean, who was playing in the fifth tier of French rugby two years ago, also crossed on two occasions for 14-man Toulon after centre Jeremy Sinzelle was sent off early in the second half.

Jordie Barrett cited after high tackle during Hurricanes victory
Kiss proud of fight as Reds count cost of gut-wrenching Hurricanes defeat
Super Rugby Pacific 2024 TOTW: Looking at the best Australian performers from Round Two
The Aussies went down to NZ in the LA Final. Photo: World Rugby
New Zealand, Blyde power to victory over Australia in LA