Friday, August 26, 2011

2011-2012 French Top 14 starts today!

The worlds premier domestic competition is set to start today with six of the seven matches of Round 1 to be played and only one taking place on Saturday. There are a large number of worldclass players in the competition with players from Canada, Chile, Uruguay and the USA representing the Americas. There are also many international stars from other countries such as Australia´s  Matt Giteau, New Zealand´s Luke McAlister, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Joe Rokocoko, Wales´ Lee Byrne and James Hook, England´s Johnny Wilkinson and Tom Palmer and South Africa´s Ricky Januarie. Pumas stars Juan Martín Hernández and Felipe Contepomi are two of 32 Argentine players in the 14 team competition.

The early rounds are not going to be sterotypical as many players are missing to international duty and will only return after the completion of Rugby World Cup 2011. The reigning Champions, Toulouse will be amongst the worst hit by missing players and will have a tough task of competiting well before late October. Toulouse are to face Bayonne in an away match first up which promises to be difficult given Bayonne´s lack of players in the French squad for New Zealand 2011 as well as player for other countries. It is a unique opportunity for Bayonne to defeat the French giants. 2009 champions, Perpignan will host Castres in a match which they would be regulary expected to win without any problems but USAP are to be missing a number of players on World Cup duty. Castres are also missing players but should be able to adapt better and, as such, get a win. Stade Français are another who will be missing plenty of players and will host newcomers, Bordeaux who also have some in the World Cup but, nevertheless, should have ahuge advantage with Stade Français missing so many players. Two teams with fewer players involved at the World Cup are two contenders for relgation in Brive and Agen. They also have players involved in the Rugby World Cup but fewer in comparison to others. It will be close to being full strength sides. Clermont will be missing lots of players while Lyon will be missing few. It is the ideal start to the season for Lyon who could begin in perfect fashion.Racing Metro vs Montpellier was a magical semi-final but neither side will be able to field anything resembling the same team from that day. The visitors will, nonetheless, be less disadvantaged. Toulon will struggle vs Biarritz given the number of players missing but it is another match that could go either way.

Friday August 26 Bayonne vs Toulouse
Friday August 26 Perpignan vs Castres
Friday August 26 Stade Français vs Bordeaux
Friday August 26 Brive vs Agen
Friday August 26 Clermont vs Lyon
Friday August 26 Racing Metro vs Montpellier
Saturday August 27 Toulon vs Biarritz

During the early rounds of the competition Rugby World Cup - Argentina 2023 will be taking an in-depth  look at the Argentine players in the Top 14.

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