Sunday, August 26, 2012

Top 14 - Round 2 Wrap

Biarritz tryscorer Taku Ngwenya
Round two of the French first division, the Top 14 was played on Friday and Saturday and provided a strong indication that this season could be extremely competitive. After two rounds only three teams are undefeated and only three other teams are yet to win a match. Of the fourteen teams only Mont de Marsan is pointless but the newcomers have faced the top two sides so far. The club is likely to drop back to the Pro d2 given the teams playing roster which is not as strong as it needs to be to compete in the Top 14. But there is no real sign of who else is in danger of being relegated. It could be a host of different sides. Right now the 2009 French Champions, Perpignan are second to bottom and have not been playing well. Like last season the clubs star players have failed to impress. 

The weekend featured players from the Americas but fewer than normal due to The Rugby Championship. Argentina´s 16-16 draw with South Africa featured twelve Top 14 players in the starting lineup. Others were on the bench or in the squad but left out of the match. There were still a sprinkling of Argentine players in action and the Americas region was also represented by players from Canada, Uruguay and the USA.  

Bordeaux-Begles 26-22 Perpugnan 

No Pumas in this match due to the Rugby Championship. Nicolás Sánchez started at flyhalf v South Africa while Rafael Carballo was left out of the squad.

Toulouse 37-22 Mont de Marsan
A comfortable win for the reigning French champions who were without Patricio Albacete and Nicolás Vergallo. Both played in the draw in Mendoza.

Bayonne 24-11 Stade Français 
A good win for the Basque club, despite being tryless. The Argerntine-Italian Sergio Parisse started for the Parisians. Felipe Contepomi did not play but played on Thursday for the club. Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga was playing in Mendoza. USA backrower Scott LaValla started at 6 for Stade Français.

Montpellier 13-8 Clermont  
A crucial early win over a big club will do wonders for Montpellier who are without six Pumas. The visitors featured a Canadian with Jamie Cudmore coming off the bench in the 48th minute.

Castres 30-6 Grenoble
A comfortable home win for Castres who ahd Uruguay´s Rodrigo Capó Ortega on the bench. Young Argentine fullback, Joaquín Tuculet started for Grenoble.
Racing Métro 21-23 Toulon
A key win for Toulon in Paris sees Toulon go two from two. There were no players from the Americas in this match due to five players being the Pumas squad. Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe and Àlvaro Galindo started in Mendoza.
Biarritz 25-19 Agen
Biarrtiz tops the table despite missing a number of players. Three players who helped safe the team from relegation last season started in Mendoza - Marcelo Bosch, Manuel Carizza and Eusebio Guiñazú. The club did have one Puma though with Francisco Goméz Kodela starting at tighthead prop. USA Eagles speedster Taku Ngwenya scored a try for Biarritz. Goméz Kodela played in the June 2012 internationals as did two Agen players - Belisario Agulla and Esteban Lozada. Both started the match but Lozada left the field injured and is expected to miss the next two matches. 

Top 14 Standings
1 Biarritz 9
2 Toulouse 9
3 Toulon  8
4 Castres 5
5 Bayonne 5
6 Bordeaux 5 
7 Clermont 5
8 Racing Métro 5
9 Stade Français 4
10 Montpellier 4
11 Grenoble 4
12 Agen 2
13 Perpignan 2
14 Mont de Marsan 0

Play-Offs Zone
Relegation Zone

Toulouse vs Mont de Marsan

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