Monday, November 21, 2011

Heineken Cup Round 2 Action - Pumas, Eagles, Canadians and Teros

The second round of the 2011-2012 Heineken Cup was played of this past weekend in Europe and featured a host of players from Argentina as well as Canada, Uruguay and the USA all having players in action. The round produced the match of the year with Edinburgh completing a remarkable 48-47 win over Racing Metro in Scotland on Friday. The Parisians had been leading by twenty four points midway through the secondhalf only to blow a huge lead and suffer the consequences. Former Argentine international secondrower, Esteban Lozada played the full match for Edinburgh as he continues to push for a return to Los Pumas to play in The Rugby Championship. Racing had three Pumas with Juan Martín Hernández again performing well at flyhalf as he organized the plays and converted one of Racing Metro´s tries. The sides new arrival, Juan Imhoff scored a first half try, his second try for the club and second in consecutive matches. He is likely to be rested for next weekends match after he sprained an ankle. Imhoff appears certain to be a permanent feature for Argentina on the left wing. Former Pumas tighthead prop, Juan Orlandi came on for Racing Metro as a second half replacement and struggled and was yellowcarded.

Three other matches took place on Friday with French side Clermont hosting Italian side Aironi and notching up a bonus point 54-3 victory in central France. Canada´s Jamie Cudmore did not feature for Clermont due to suspension while Argentine born Italian international centre, Gonzalo Canale came on after the interval. Aironi had two Argentine born Italian international players with Luciano Orquera playing flyhalf and scoring his sides only points and Matías Agüero played loosehead prop. The Cardiff Blues backed up their first round win over Racing Metro with a 24-18 victory over London Irish in Cardiff. Canadian international, Jebb Sinclair played in the backrow for the visitors who were forced to play 61 minutes without one player as Steve Shingler was redcarded for a dangerous tackle. The Scarlets lead their group after he Welsh side surprized last seasons finalists, the Northampton Saints with a 28-23 away victory. Welsh World Cup flyhalf, Rhys Priestland returned to score a try as Wales prepare to face Australia with Priestland likely to play at pivot. The match was another to feature players from the Americas with USA international secondrower, Samu Manoa featuring from the bench for the English side.

                              Clermont vs Aironi

ASM CA - Aironi : le résumé por asm

                                          Cardiff Blues vs London Irish

Six matches were played on Saturday with the results also not going entirely to script. Irish powerhouses, Munster scraped home to defeat Castres 27-24 thanks to a last minute drop goal to USA born Irish international flyhalf, Ronan O´Gara. Fellow Irish side did not have as much luck as Connacht hosted and went down 36-10 to French champions, Toulouse at Galway. Toulouse´s big win included Argentine international scrumhalf, Nicolas Vergallo who played the final twenty minutes. Patricio Albacete missed the game as the secondrower contnues to recover from injury. Uruguay´s Rodrigo Capo Ortega played the final quarter of the match for the French side. The Leicester Tigers secured themselves top spot of Group 4 following a 20-9 victory over Ulster who had defeated Clermont one week earlier. Leicester´s two Pumas started with Horacio Agulla playing the full match on the right wing and Marcos Ayerza playing 75 minutes at loosehead prop. Both players are certainties to feature for Los Pumas in 2012. Argentine born Italian international tighthead prop, Martín Castrogiovanni came on for England´s Dan Cole in the 57the minute.

                                             Leicester vs Ulster

                                           Castres vs Munster

Elsewhere in England, the undefeated team of the season won again as the Harlequins defeated Gloucester 28-9 in Gloucester. Argentine international secondrower, Tomás Vallejos Cinalli played 74 minutes for the London side as he continues to, like Esteban Lozada, push for a spot alongside Patricio Albacete and Manuel Carizza in the Pumas´ squad. Carizza´s club, Biarritz was also in action on Saturday as the French side hosted and defeated Saracens 15-10 to get its first win of the season. Carizza did not play as he continues to recover from a broken hand. Marcelo Bosch played flyhalf for Biarritz as he continues to display his versatility. He was joined in the backline by USA international winger, Taku Ngwenya who scored a try. Uncapped Argentine prop, Francisco Gómez Kodela played the final nine minutes for Biarritz. Argentine born Italian prop, Carlos Nieto played the final quarter for Saracens while the USA international pair of fullback Chris Wyles and secondrower Hayden Smith both started for the London side.

Italian side, Benetton Treviso were very unlucky not to defeat Welsh powerhouses, the Ospreys in Saturday´s other match. The Italians were in control and were looking like winning, only for the Ospreys´ to kick a last minute penalty to snatch a 26-26 draw. Benetton Treivso featured four Argentine players and a Canadian. Hooker Franco Sbaraglini, props Ignacio Fernández Rouyet and Pedro Di Santo and secondrower Gonzalo Padro also came on in the secondhalf. Italy´s Canadian born backrower, Robert Barbieri started at 8 for Benetton Treviso. When Heineken Cup action resumes, Benetto Treviso will face Biarritz over two matches and could well shake up the group even further.

                                                        Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys

The final two matches took place on Sunday. Last seasons champions, Leinster went into the round in third place in thr group with Scottish side the Glasgow Warriors in first. Glasgow had claimed first place after claiming a shock win vs Bath in which secondrower, Richie Gray scored a last minute try to defeat the English side. It appearaed to be a must see match but Leinster were far too good in demolishing the Scot´s 38-13 in Dublin. Former Pumas winger, Federico Martín Aramburú played the final 24 minutes for Glasgow. USA born winger, Tommy Seymour played the full match for the same side. Latter on Sunday Bath hosted Montpellier and two early tries saw the home side shoot out to a 13-0 lead in the 17th minute. Montpellier hit back with Argentine winger, Martín Bustos Moyano slotting two penalties and scoring a converted try as he scored all of his sides points in what was a 16-13 defeat. His performance again underlined his credentials as an option for Argentina in 2012. Bustos Moyano was joined in the starting lineup by Lucas González Amorosino who played the full match at fullback, hooker Agustín Creevy who played until the 60th minute and uncapped tighthead prop, Maxi Bustos who also left in the 60th minute. The trio are all highly likely to be on the field in The Rugby Championship in 2012 for Los Pumas. Argentine centre, Santiago Fernández was on the bench while Juan Figallo missed the match as he continues his rehabilitation following injury.

                                           Leinster vs Glasgow Warriors

                                              Bath vs Montpellier

Group 1 Standings 
1 Scarlets 9
2 Munster 8
3 Northampton 2
4 Castres 1

Group 2 Standings
1 Edinburgh 9
2 Cardiff Blues 8
3 Racing Metro 3
4 London Irish 2

Group 3 Standings
1 Leinster 7
2 Bath 5
3 Glasgow Warriors 4
4 Montpellier 3

Group 4 Standings
1 Leicester Tigers 8
2 Clermont 6 
3 Ulster 4
4 Aironi 0

Group 5 Standings
1 Ospreys 6
2 Saracens 6
3 Biarritz 4
4 Benetton Treviso 2

Group 6 Standings
1 Harlequins 8
2 Toulouse 8
3 Gloucester 0
4 Connacht 0

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