Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumas star in away win for Toulon vs Perpignan

Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi kicked 19 points for Toulon in their 29-20 away win vs 2009 Top 14 Champions and 2010 runners-up, Perpignan in Perpignan on Thursday. Contepomi kicked five penalties and converted his sides two tries with Pumas backrower, Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe and England´s Paul Sackey scoring for Toulon. The win sees Toulon rise to fifth place and Perpignan drop to eighth as this seasons Top 14 continues to be the most competitive ever. The victory means that Toulon can breath easily now that they have ended their losing streak and can release players for the autumn internationals and return focused for Top 14 action on December 4th.

Elsewhere in round 12 of the Top 14 it was upsets gallore with Agen pulling off a massive upset vs Paris based Racing Metro to move closer to help their chances of avoiding relegation. Racing Metro already with Juan Martín Hernández missing through injury also lost their other flyhalf, Jonathan Wisniewski in the first half to injury. He had been named in France´s squad for the autumn internationals to repalce the injured François Trinh-Duc but may now miss out altogether. The month long break, it seems has come at the perfect time for Racing Metro as their injury list continues to grow. It was only the third win for Agen this season and certainly the hardest fought as the lead changed hands throughout the match with Agen winning 21-20 in the end.

The bottom placed side, Bourgoin, was well defeated again by powerhouses Toulouse who scored four tries to one to win 35-11. The result means Bourgoin sit on 10 points in last place with Agen above them on 15 and Brive and La Rochelle both on 19 points. After twelve rounds it would appear that the remainder of the season for Bourgoin must be damage limitation. They need to prioritize their players for specific matches to do everything they can to avoid relegation into the Pro d2.

La Rochelle pulled off a major surprize in defeating champions Clermont 22-14 to further their chances of staying in the Top 14 at the expense of a traditional side like Brive who lost again to drop down to 12th place. Former Heineken Cup Champions, Brive were well beaten by the high-flying Montpellier with Argentine players doing very well for the mediterranean side. Montpellier scored four tries with Argentine flyhalf, Santiago Fernández scoring one of them and the newcomer to Los Pumas, Martín Bustos Moyano, playing fullback, kicked 15 points in his sides 35-9 hammering of Brive. The win means that Toulouse and Montpellier sit comfortably at the top of the table well clear of the chasing pack which includes Racing Métro, Biarritz, Toulon, Castres, Clermont, Perpignan, Bayonne and Stade Français who pack the table from third to tenth.

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After coming off good wins in the Heineken Cup and the Top 14 recently, the impressive Biarritz were expected to be too strong for Castres at home but had a disappointing match which ended in a 17-17 draw. Marcelo Bosch again played fullback for the Basque´s as his push to play again for Los Pumas continues. His chances of playing for Argentina this november are very strong but it would appear he is in competition with the likes of Fernández, Bustos Moyano, Martín Rodriguez Gurruchaga and captain Felipe Contepomi. All of whom are in great from in France. Bosch, like Fernández and Rodriguez Gurruchaga is a versatile player capable of playing at 10, 12, 13 or 15. Argentina would appear to have a wealth of resources despite Juan Martín Hernández remaining on the sidelines through injury.

Rodriguez Gurruchaga played again for Stade Français as did prop Rodrigo Roncero but the team had another below par performance in losing 24-20 to Bayonne in Paris. The win means Bayonne are now equal with the Parisians on the ladder after twelve rounds of play. Despite playing badly this season, Stade Français are only one win behind fourth placed Biarritz. Pumas centre, Gonzelo Tiesi has been out injured since early in the season but should be fine to represent Argentina this month.

1 Toulouse 42 
2 Montpellier 41 
3 Racing Métro 35
4 Biarritz Olympique 33
5 Toulon 32
6 Castres Olympique 31
7 ASM Clermont Auvergne 30
8 Perpignan 28
9 Aviron Bayonnais 28
10 Stade Français 28
11 La Rochelle 19
12 Brive 19
13 SU Agen 15
14 Bourgoin 10

Round 13 matches (December 4)

Bayonne vs La Rochelle
Bourgoin vs Biarritz
Brive vs Agen
Castres vs Perpignan
Clermont vs Toulouse
Racing Metro vs Stade Français
Toulon vs Montpellier

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