Monday, December 6, 2010

Top 14 Round 13 - Argentina Players in action

Argentina's contribution to global rugby was evident in the lattest round of the Top 14 Orange this past weekend in France as all seven matches involved Argentina players. By looking back to to 2002, one year before Rugby World Cup 2003 in Australia, it is evident just how far Argentina rugby has come. In 2002 some teams had Pumas players. Following the form of Argentina players in France was a simple excerise - simply following teams such as Castres, Perpignan and Stade Francais was adequate. Today however it is a case of finding teams who do not have Pumas players rather than teams who do. Pumas players are not only to be found in leading clubs but they are often also leading players for their clubs and in their position in France.

This past weekend, however was not the best weekend of rugby as subzero temperatures and snow ravaged Europe in the week leading up to the games. In Paris, for instance the cities two teams went head to head with Racing Metro hosting Stade Francais at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in Colombes near Paris. The match had only one try with a near frozen pitch and snow covering much of the surface.

Stade Francais had four Pumas in their starting XV with Martin Rodriguez Gurruchaga and Gonzalo Tiesi pairing up in the centres, Rodrigo Roncero playing loosehead prop and the returning Juan Manuel Leguizamon starting in the backrow in the number 7 shirt. Racing Metro had two Pumas with Juan Pablo Orlandi starting in the front row against Roncero and Juan Martin Hernandez returning from a thigh injury to come on in the second half. Stade Francais scored the only try but it was Racing Metro who won the contest with a 15-13 victory.

J13 : Racing Metro 92 - Stade Français

Similar conditions were apparant in Toulon as Toulon hosted Montpellier played on Friday night. Martin Bustos Moyano kicked eight points for the visitors as the uncapped Argentine fullback / winger continued his great form since arriving at the club this season. He was joined by Pumas prop Juan Figallo and centre / flyhalf Santiago Fernandez in the starting lineup. Toulon were the better side however, winning 29-13 with Felipe Contepomi on the bench for Toulon and USA Eagles centre Seta Tuilevuka for Montpellier.

Retired Pumas secondrower, Rimas Alvarez played for Perpignan in their 23-13 loss to Castres in  Castres on Saturday. The result continues the poor form of Perpignan this season. It is little wonder that France were so poor vs Australia last month considering that four Perpignan players were in the French squad ahead of vastly better players from clubs such as Clermont, Stade Francais and Toulouse.

Résumé du match Castres USAP - Déc 2010

Bayonne hosted La Rochelle who had two uncapped Argentine players in their team in Franco Pani and Andres Bordoy. The homeside came back from a slow start to win 23-14. The other newcomer to the Top 14, Agen secured a rare away victory vs Brive in winning 30-12 in a match involving two Pumas in Pablo Henn (Brive) and Miguel Avramovic (Agen). The win sees Agen break clear of the relegation zone and Brive fall into it. Remarkable, considering Brive won the Heineken Cup a little more than a decade ago.

Top 14 champions hosted Heineken Cup champions as Clermont and Toulouse went head to head in central France with the hosts Clermont scoring an impresside 32-25 win. Mario Ledesma played hooker for Clermont while Patricio Albacete and Nicolas Vergallo played for Toulouse. The win is great news for Clermont who hav e not been on form so far this season. The win sees them rise into the top half of the ladder.

Résumé J13 ASM Toulouse

USA Eagles star winger, Taku Ngwenya had a great match for Biarritz scoring a try as the Basque team scored a massive 37-20 win over Bourgoin who are now well and truely stuck at the bottom of the table and facing relegation to the Pro D2. Ngwenya's try was in the 40th minute and was the second of four tries for Biarritz who outscored Bourgoin by four tries to two. The match was scheduled to be played in Bourgoin but because of snow it was moved to Biarritz. No Pumas players played for Biarritz with Marcelo Bosch and Manuel Carizza both missing through injury. Bourgoin, however, had two Argentine players in  flyhalf Alberto de Bernardo and centre Matias Viazzo.

Top 14 Ladder
1 Toulouse 43 
2 Montpellier 41
3 Racing Métro 39
4 Biarritz 38 
5 Toulon 36 
6 Castres 35 
7 Clermont 34 
8 Bayonne 32 
9 Stade Français 29 
10 Perpignan 28 
11 Agen 20 
12 La Rochelle 19 
13 Brive 19 
14 Bourgoin 10

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