Saturday, September 1, 2012

Top 14 - Round 3 Wrap

After three rounds of the 2012-2013 Top 14 not a lot is clear at the top. There are no teams doing significantly better than others. The same seven teams thast will represent France in this seasons Heineken Cup are also the top seven in the Top 14 after three rounds. There is a clear bottom of the table side though and a potential list of teams facing relegation is already appearing. Bottom of the table is Mont de Marsan which is looking like having a very long season while Agen and Perpignan are so far yet to find form with both tied for second to bottom. Stade Français were victims of Grenoble in the first match of the weekend which is a sign that stereotypes can largely be discarded. 

The thrid round again featired players from the Americas with international players from Argentina, Uruguay and the United States of America playing. There was a large list of missing players due to Argentina´s participation in The Rugby Championship but the quantity of Pumas in France is such that even with twenty-four missing to international duty there were still five playing this weekend who featured against Italy or France in June. 

Grenoble 26-12 Stade Français
A good home win puts last seasons Pro d2 champions in a good position after three rounds. Argentina´s  Joaquin Tuculet played fullback for Grenoble and Felipe Contepomi was flyhalf for Stade Français. The Argentine-Italian, Sergio Parisse started in the Parisian backrow as did USA Eagle, Scott LaValla. Stade Français was without Pumas fullback Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga who is in Wellington preparing for Argentina´s third match in The Rugby Championship. 

Biarritz 22-17 Toulouse
A genuine upset on the Spanish border sees USA international winger Taku Ngwenya had a disallowed try after the pass to his colleague, Iain Balshaw had been ruled to go forward. Argentine prop Francisco Goméz Kodela started at tighthead prop for Biarritz. Thet eam was without Marcelo Bosch due to The Rugby Championship while Toulouse were missing Patricio Albacete and Nicolás Vergallo.

Montpellier 32-15 Agen
Without six Pumas, Montpellier have made it back-to-back wins in the Top 14 to be in the play-offs zone. Juan Figallo, Maximilano Bustos, Agustín Creevy, Santi Fernández, Martín Bustos Moyano and Lucas González Amorosino will all only play for Montpellier in October. Two fringe Pumas featured for Agen with Esteban Lozada starting in the secondrow and Belisario Agulla taking a place on the bench.

Racing Métro 18-7 Bordeaux-Begles
Racing Métro are tied with Montpellier on 9 points after a home win. The Parisians were missing four Pumas while Bordeaux missed two to international duty. Juan Martín Hernández, Juan Imhoff and Juan Pablo Orlandi are in line for a place in the team to face New Zealand next Saturday. Alvaro Galindo will not play as he recovers from an injury in the 16-16 draw against South Africa in Mendoza. Nicolás Sánchez and Rafael Carballo are both currently training with the squad in Wellington too. 

Clermont 53-31 Perpignan
Canadian enforcer, Jamie Cudmore did not feature for Clermont who scored seven tries, three more than Perpignan. The loss leaves Perpignan winless after three rounds alongisde Mont de Marsan and Agen. It is the teams second consecutive poor season so far with the off-season signings not being able to provide the team with results. 

Castres 31-10 Bayonne
Uruguayan forward, Rodrigo Capó Ortega started for the home side. He had an impressive match, scoring Castres thrid and final try. It is in the Top 8 for now, four points behind the competition leaders Biarritz and Toulon. 

Mont de Marsan 15-29 Toulon
A comfortable win for the visitors who were missing Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe to international duty. The home side is bottom of the table without a single point while Toulon are thirteeen points clear and remain undefeated. 




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

Play-offs Places
Facing Relegation

Grenoble v Stade Français


Mont de Marsan v Toulon

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