Friday, December 2, 2011

Pumas legends to face off in the Paris derby

Since Racing-Métro were promoted to the Top 14 in 2009 they have constantly been the better side than their Parisian rivals Stade Français, whose downfall coincided with Racing's rise.

But for the first time in the Top 14, when they play each on Saturday it will be between two evenly matched sides. Despite initially struggling with the absence of their World Cup players, Stade are gaining momentum and a win in this match would put them in a great position to achieve a top 6 finish as they have a favourable run of games after this match. Racing meanwhile have been infuriatingly inconsistent so far this season and are struggling to string performances together.

To add intrigue to this match, despite it technically being a home match for Stade, it is basically a neutral match as for the first time the Paris derby will take place at the Stade de France where both teams have relocated matches before. So neither team has a home advantage which normally decides matches between evenly matches teams in France. Hopefully both teams will fill the stadium and create a great atmosphere.

Argentina: autumn internationals form guide
Pumas stars Felipe Contepomi and
Juan Martín Hernández will face off
at the Stade de France on Saturday
The match will also have a battle between two Argentine 10's, the in form Felipe Contepomi and Juan Martín Hernández who has now played 6 consecutive matches and although not back to his best form he is gradually working off the rustiness which was clearly affecting him during the few matches he played last season before suffering another nasty injury. Both the fly halves know the Stade de France well, it was the venue where both were instrumental in defeating France in the opening match of the 2007 World Cup, at club level both have had good times at 80,000 seater stadium as well (see videos below).

Other Argentines who will be playing in this match are Stade's Rodrigo Roncero who will more literally go head to head with Juan Pablo Orlandi who is starting for Racing at 3. In the backs for Stade Martín Rodríguez has been in great form as well alongside Contepomi for Stade and has formed a good centre partnership with the Samoan Paul Williams. The full teams are listed below.

Stade Français

Rodrigo Roncero
Mikaele Tuugahala
Dimitri Szarzewski
Benjamin Noirot
David Attoub
Juan Pablo Orlandi
Tom Palmer
Karim Ghezal
Pascal Papé
Lionel Nallet
David Lyons
Johnny Leo’o
Pierre Rabadan
Bernard le Roux
Sergio Parisse
Sébastien Chabal
Julien Dupuy
Nicolas Durand
Felipe Contepomi
Juan Martín Hernández
Julien Arias
Julien Saubade
Martín Rodríguez
Virimi Vakatawa
Paul Williams
Henry Chavancy
Paul Sackey
Sireli Bobo
Paul Warwick
Jonathan Wisniewski
Aled de Malmanche
Thomas Bianchin
Rabah Slimani
Eddy Ben Arous
Gerhard Mostert
Jone Qovu
Antoine Burban
Antoine Battut
Jérôme Fillol
Sébastien Descons
Morgan Turinui
Josh Matavesi
Francis Fainifo
Rémi Vaquin
Stan Wright
Julien Brugnaut

(video below: Juan Martín Hernández playing magnificently whilst at Stade against Clermont in the 2007 Top 14 final at the Stade de France)

(video below: Felipe Contepomi on great form with Stade Français against Clermont this season at the Stade de France)

1 comment:

  1. The best thing, for me, about Hernández at 10 for Stade Français back then was that he had only recently moved there from 15. In January 2007 he said I want to play flyhalf and from there he quickly went from a famous player in France to a famous player around the world as he was the best 10 at Rugby World Cup 2007.

    If he can return to form like this for Argentina in 2012 then Los Pumas can not only compete at home in The Rugby Championship but they´ll be able to be a force.