The 2011-2012 French Top 14 which started on Friday has 32 Argentine players this season. Despite two of the fourteen clubs not having any players from Argentina the average number of players per club remains high with 2.29 players per team. The team with the most Argentine players is Montpellier which has six players, five of whom are to play for Los Pumas at Rugby World Cup 2011. The next best is Stade Français which has five. These two sides are both contenders for the championship and both feature players who are certain to impress for Los Pumas at New Zealand 2011. Both will be featured over the coming weeks as Rugby World Cup - Argentina 2023 is using the early rounds of the French Top 14 to take a look at the players from Argentina in France.
Brive, or as it is officially called, Club Athlétique Brive Corrèze Limousin, is a traditional French Top 14 rugby side which was founded in 1910 and plays its home matches in Brive-la-Gaillarde in the French départemente of Corréze in the Limousin region of France. The club was one of France´s best sides in the mid to late 1990´s but has since been unable to match this and has had financial issues. The club was European Champions in 1997, having defeated the Leicester Tigers 28-9 in the Heineken Cup Final in Wales. Brive were Heineken Cup finalists the following season but were defeated 19-8 by English side, Bath in Bordeaux. Despite being a European champion, Brive have never been Champions of France.
Having finished 12th in the 2010-2011 Top 14 season, Brive were close to being relegated but were able to stay in the Top 14 as La Rochelle dropped below Brive late in the season. The club has recruited some noticable players for the new season with 25 year old former English international flyhalf, Shane Geraghty joining from Northampton and former French international centre, Arnaud Mignardi joining from Agen. The team has three Pumas on the playing roster but none of them are going to play for Argentina at Rugby World Cup 2011 as they were all left out of the squad. After arriving as a Medical Joker last season, scrumhalf Agustín Figuerola went on to impress for Brive and was trhe teams first choice scrumhalf before the end of the season. His potential combination with Shane Geraghty looms as being key to Brive´s chances of a successful season. The club has lost the services of Argentine born Italian international flyhalf, Luciano Orquera who, after playing for Italy in the World Cup, is to play for Aironi in the Pro 12. The club will continue to have the services of two former Argentine international props as both Pablo Cardinali and Pablo Henn are to play another season for Brive.