Saturday, February 25, 2012

Brive and Agen win Top 14 matches

This weekend was due to be a bye round for the Top 14 Orange. The reason being France´s Six Nations match vs Scotland. However, with snow terrorizing much of Europe in recent weeks two matches were rescheduled, both taking place on Friday evening. Strugglers Lyon and Brive fought it out at Matmut Stadium in Lyon while Agen played host to the fourth placed Castres at the Stade Armandie. With Brive and Agen both coming out on top the pressure will now pile up significantly on Lyon who sit occupy the fourteenth and final place in the competition. With the bottom two automatically being relegated, Lyon need a miracle of some kind to start winning or the team will indeed be relegated. Agen, in contrast are now on the verge of returning to the Top Six and thus could make the play-offs and qualify for next seasons Heineken Cup. 

Juan Manuel Leguizamón
Lyon 22-9 Brive
With both teams desparate for a win as neither is safe from relegation, the chances of a free-flowing match were low. Brive went out to a 6-0 lead in the 19th minute but the home side fought back and the scores were 9-9 in the final minutes before the interval. Los Pumas backrower, Juan Manuel Leguizamón was yellowcarded in the 39th minute and Mathieu Belie gave Brive a three point advantage at the break. The secondhalf was dominated by the referee who handed out two yellow cards and two red cards to each team. Former Pumas loosehead prop, Pablo Henn reciving one of the two red cards. Henn had come into the match from the bench in the 49th minute and was red carded one minute latter. Fellow former Pumas frontrower, Pablo Cardinali started for Brive while a contender for Argentina´s number 9 shirt, Agustín Figuerola came into the match in the 63rd minute. Leguizamón started for Lyon.

Agen 23-12 Castres
Scelzo on defence
Castres maintained its record of failing to score tries. The Scotland of French rugby kept its reputation alive as the team continues to ensure it wins matches but struggles to ever cross the line. In recent years it has seen Castres qualify for the Heineken Cup and advance to the Barrage Finals but winning the play-off´s matches has not transpired as the team has always been outscored in the tries department. Agen´s win means it could make the play-off´s at the expence of one of the two Parisian teams or even Castres.  The match featured Uruguay´s Rodrigo Capó Ortega who started in the secondrow for Castres while the Argentine pair of tighthead prop Martín Scelzo and centre Miguel Avramovic both entered for Agen from the bench. Scelzo came on in the 37th minute and Avramovic in the 66th. Belisario Agulla did not feature nor did the injured USA winger, Kevin Swiryn.

Top 14 Orange Standings
1 Toulouse 69
2 Clermont 61
3 Toulon 52
4 Montpellier 48
5 Castres 48
6 Stade Français 42
7 Racing Métro 41
8 Agen 40
9 Bordeaux-Begles 37
10 Brive 36
11 Perpignan 33
12 Bayonne 29
13 Biarritz 25
14 Lyon 24 

* In the play-offs zone
* Facing Relegation

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