Sunday, December 12, 2010

Argentina Players in Round 3 of the Heineken Cup

Round three of the 2010-2011 European Club Championship - the Heineken Cup was another case in point of the strength of Argentine rugby with the country contributing players to various matches and players putting in strong performances. The English sides had a weekend to forget about unlike the French clubs who really stood up with 6 out of 7 winning and surprizingly Biarritz losing to Aironi in Italy.

In Group 1 Castres hosted Edinburgh in one of two matches featured a Southwestern French side vs a Scottish side. The home side did not have an Argentine player but did feature Uruguay´s legendary player - Rodrigo Capó Ortega returning from a two month injury lay-off to come on in the 50th minute for the French side. Pumas secondrower, Esteban Lozada also played, but for Edinburgh as he came on the field with fifteen minutes left to play. Castres won the match 21-16 scoring two tries to one.

Group 2 surely featured the most important match of the round from an Argentina perspective as Saracens of London hosted Racing Metro of Paris. The London side featured USA Eagles fullback Chris Wyles facing off against the returning Magician in Juan Martín Hernández who returned from a long injury break to score Racing Metro´s first try which was handed to him by Saracens centre Bradley Barrett from a shocking pass. Hernández played until the 65th minute and put in a good performance with some accurate kicking and entered the line several times contributing well. His performance was a ray of light for Argentina following below par performances from Felipe Contepomi in the 10 shirt vs Italy, France and Ireland last month. Hernández was joined by unwanted Pumas prop Juan Pablo Orlandi who played tighthead prop for the Parisians and Argentina born Italian secondrower Santiago Dellapé. Saracens also had an Argentine born and raised Italian international rugby player in Carlos Nieto who came off the bench into the front row in the second half. Racing Metro won 24-21.

The Groups second match took place on Sunday with Clermont hosting Leinster and coming out on top 20-13. The French side featured Pumas tight head prop Martín Scelzo and hooker Mario Ledemsa as well as Argentine born Italian international centre Gonzalo Canale who played the full 80 minutes for Clermont for the first time in quite some time. Pumas secondrower Mariano Galarza did not play for Leinster.

HCup Résumé ASM Leinster

Group 3 featured two sunday afternoon matches with London Irish hosting Toulon and Munster hosting Ospreys. Both home teams were victoious in matches not involving Argentine players. Toulon opted to select Johnny Wilkinson at flyhalf and leave Felipe Contepomi out of the match day 23. Backrower, Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe was rested for the contest as he recovers from an injury sustained during alst months European tour with Los Pumas. London Irish also rested their Puma in scrumhalf Alfredo Lalane for the match. Toulon continued the impressive results for the French sides vs the English with a 19-13 victory. Munster won 22-16 in a game featuring no Argentine players. The teams secondrower and captain, Paul O´Connell, was red carded for punching Welsh international backrower Jonathan Thomas.

Group 4 had saturday matches two with the newcomers to the Heineken Cup Aironi playing a home fixture vs last seasons beaten finalists Biarritz. Argentine born Italian international Matías Agüero played for Aironi in their historical and nail-bitting 28-27 win. Biarritz had a weakened team including two Pumas players missing in Manuel Carizza and Marcelo Bosch. USA Eagles international winger, Taku Ngwenya, however, made sure the French side would include an international player of the Americas and he scored a try. Biarritz scored 4 tries to 3 but inaccurate goal kicking from the usually reliable boot of French international scrumhalf Dimitri Yachvilli proved to be fatal. leading 27-25 in the 78th minute Biarritz somehow lost in this huge upset as, ironically, former Biarritz flyhalf Julien Laharrague slotted a drop goal to clinch a one point victory.

Meanwhile in Belfast, Ulster hosted Bath as two traditional sides battled it out for what should be the second placed spot in Pool 4. The Irish side managed a 22-18 win scoring one try. Former Pumas secondrower Ignacio Fernández Lobbe played the final 20 minutes for Bath .

In group 5 Leicester were defeated 24-19 by Perpignan in France with French fullback Jerome Porical scoring 19 points. Pumas prop Marcos Ayerza and Argentine born and raised Italian international Martín Castrogiovanni were the props for Leicester. However, the Tigers highly questionable selections that has dominated their below par season continued with both Horacio Agulla and Lucas González Amorisino left out of the Leicester team for the match. The loss should see both Pumas backs returning to the starting lineup for next weekends home match vs Perpignan. In the pools other match the Scarlets of Wales had an easier home match as they hosted Italy´s Benetton Treviso in Llanelli. The Italian side featured four Argentine players including Italian international inside centre Gonzalo Garcia who scored a try. For their part, Pedro Di SantoDiego Vidal and Ignacio Fernández Rouyet all played as well. The Scarlets scored a 35-27 win.

USAP - Leicester : Le résumé du match

Group 6 featured the rounds only friday match with the Glasgow Warriors hosting current Heineken Cup champions, Toulouse at Firhill. The home side featured two former Pumas in fullback Bernardo Stortoni and winger Federico Martín Aramburu as well as two Canadian internationals in winger DTH van der Merwe and prop Kevin Thacuck. Aramburu scored his teams first try following a freakish bounce as he chased a kick from Scottish centre Max Evans. Toulouse, however, despite not playing nearly at their best proved to be far better than Glasgow in winning 28-16 thanks to three tries to French internationals Florian Fritz, Yannick Jauzion and Cedric Heymans. Pumas secondrower, Patricio Albacete had another solid match for the champions. London Wasps knocked over the Newport Dragons 23-16 at Rodney Parade in the othermatchf rom the group on sunday. No Argentine players featured.

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