Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Amlin Challenge Cup Round 3 Wrap: Argentine and USA players in action

Ignacio Mieres
The Quarter Final picture of the Amlin Challenge Cup is clearer than that of the Heineken Cup following the completion of round 3. Whilst some of the big name teams completed simple victories it was not such a walkn in the park for others with Englands bottom ranked team, the Newcastle Falcons, upsetting Toulon and Agen being well beaten by the Sale Sharks. These results changed the complexion of  Groups two and five which are the hardest to predict at this point in time. Former Leicester, Perpignan and Stade Français flyhalf, Ignacio Mieres, continued to push for a place in Los Pumas as the Exeter Chiefs have gone into first place in their group. Mieres was one of a number of players from the Americas in action as Rugby´s final frontier continues to contribute extensively to the global game.

Crociati 0-57 Stade Français
Stade Français are in firm control of Group One after the Parisians fielded a vastly understrengthed side but still were far too powerful for the Italian side Crociati. Stade Français´s 57-0 win in Italy featured the debut of Argentine prop Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro who joined fellow countryman Sergio Parisse who, despite being born in Argentina plays for and captains the Italian national team. Parisse scored two tries for Stade Français. Crociati fielded an Argentine player too with Sebastián Damiani starting for the Italian side.

Bucaresti 13 - 24 Worcester Warriors

The Worcester Warriors bonus point win in Romania sees them stay five points behind Stade Français but, the Warriors will need some kind of miracle to finish higher than the Parisians and advance to the Amlin Challenge Cup Quarter Finals.
Group One Standings
1 Stade Français 14
2 Worcester Warriors 10
3 Bucarest 5
4 Crociati 0

Lyon 31-16 Petrarca
Lyon completed its first win of the Amlin Challenge Cup season by knocking over Italian side Petrarca 31-16 in Lyon on Saturday. Lyon´s win was notable for the fact that it had fielded a weakened side. Petrarca had three Argentine players with Agustín Cavalieri and Miguel Alonso both in the starting lineup and Juan Pablo Sánchez coming on from the bench.

Newcastle Falcons 6-3 Toulon
Jonny Wilkinson´s return to his former English club saw him watching from the bench as Toulon fielded a significantly understrengthed side and was defeated in the lowest scoring match of the season. The Falcons won by kicking two penalties, one more than Toulon. Pumas backrower Leonardo Senatore was one of the many players rested for this fixture.

Group Two Standings
1 Newcastle Falcons 13
2 Toulon 10
3 Lyon 4
4 Petrarca 0 

Bordeaux-Begles 31-7 Rovigo
It was not a memorable weekend for the Italian sides in the Amlin Challenge Cup. Whilst benetton Treviso completed a sensational win over Biarritz, Rovigo were well outplayed by Bordeaux-Begles. The French side´s recent success continued and the 31-7 sees them get their first points in the European competition. Both sides had Argentine flyhalves with the young and promising Nicolás Sánchez of Tucumán kicking eleven points for Bordeaux-Begles and Mendoza´s Germán Bustos converting Rovigo´s only try.

Bayonne 19-11 London Wasps
Disgraced French international winger, Yoann Huget scored Bayonne´s only try with the boot of Benjamin Boyet proving decisive in putting Bayonne on top of the table. Both Bayonne and London Wasps are doing surprizingly poorly in their respective domestic competitions.

Group Three Standings
1 Bayonne 13
2 London Wasps 10 
3 Bordeaux-Begles 5
4 Rovigo 0

Perpignan 54 - 20 I Cavalieri Prato
Perpignan, like Bayonne fired its coaches in recent weeks and the side can all breath easier now following a comfortable win in the Amlin Challenge Cup. the Catalans also fielded a very experimental side but still managed to take the maximum points as they scored eight tries. Cavalieri Prato had an Argentine player on the bench and he, Martin Murgier, played the final 25 minutes.

Exeter Chiefs 18 - 6 Newport-Gwent Dragons

Exeter won Sunday´s only match to go top of the standings in this seasons most competitive pool, Group Four. As has been occuring in recent weeks in the Aviva Premiership, Argentine flyhalf, Ignacio Mieres stood tall and delivered a strong performance for the Chiefs. Mieres played the full match and landed six penalties to score all his sides points. he was joined in the starting XV by Los Pumas´ World Cup right winger, Gonzalo Camacho who left the field after 67 minutes of play.

Group Four Standings
1 Exeter Chiefs 10
2 Newport-Gwent Dragons 9
3 Perpignan 6
4 I Cavalieri Prato 0

La Vila 18-47 Brive

Brive have been struggling recently in the Top 14 but had the luxury of playing an away match against the team considered to be the weakest in the Amlin Challenge Cup, La Vila. The Spanish side were well beaten but certinaly were not embarrassed as they demonstrated that they do deserve to compete in the European Competition. Former Pumas prop, Pablo Henn started for Brive while fellow former Pumas prop, Pablo Cardinali came on as a secondhalf replacement. Another to miss the World Cup, Agustín Figuerola was on the bench for Brive but did not get any game time. La Vila had three Argentine players with Marcos Poggi scoring a try and Hernán Quirelli and Rodrigo Martínez both getting game time.

Agen 14 - 29 Sale Sharks

The Sale Sharks completed a vital away win over Agen to in effect rule out Agen´s chances of advancing to the play-off´s. Sale are still three points behind Brive but remain in contention. Uncapped Argentine winger, Joaquín Tuculet played for Sale while Agen had Belisario Agulla at fullback and Miguel Avramovic at centre. Martín Scelzo was on the bench. Agen now face Toulon in a Top 14 match today (Tuesday).

Group Five Standings
1 Brive 13
2 Sale Sharks 10
3 Agen 5
4 La Vila 0

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