Thursday, June 2, 2011

Juan Leguizamón signs for Lyon

The newly promoted Lyon have set out on a spending spree to buy up talent for the 2011-2012 season as the club looks to follow in the foot steps of Racing Metro and Toulon in quickly settling into Top 14 Rugby and being a competitive side. The 2010-2011 Pro d2 champions follow the trend set of larger French cities entering the Top 14 and doing so with a larger population to back them and similarly with significant financial backing. The changing times in French rugby favors the likes of Lyon as the competition increasingly moves away from South-West France to involve more of the country and, in particular, fewer small town-based teams. In turn survival in the Top 14 can be a difficult task as the competition is overwhelmingly becoming increasingly competitive. Regular lower table side, Montpellier will contest the 2011 Final vs Toulouse this coming weekend.

Lyon is the third largest city in France after Paris and Marseilles and the newly promoted Lyon Olympique Universitaire or LOU is already receiving significant local support from the authorities. The team will play its matches at the 42,000 seater venue, Stade Gerland which hosted three matches at Rugby World Cup 2007. The club is also going about achieving a quality playing roster and as such confirmed nine signatures for the coming season. The club announced that Arnault Tchougong, Connie Basson, Alipathé Fthahefi, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Jean-Philippe Bonrepeaux, Anthony Roux, Arnaud Marchois, Sisa Koyamaibole and Regis Lespinas will all play for them. Pumas backrower Leguizamón will be joining from Stade Français after the Parisians had a poor season. His decision to swap Paris for Lyon will see him link up with uncapped Argentine prop, Ariel Castellina who has played for Lyon OU since 2006.

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