Sunday, September 9, 2012

Top 14 - Round 4 Wrap

Tuculet has fit right in for Grenoble
Argentine players continue to feature in the Top 14 in noticable numbers despite Los Pumas involvement in The Rugby Championship. Thirteen of the starting Pumas that played against New Zealand on Saturday played the 2011-2012 season in France. It has had an impact on the competition with Montpellier in partciular appearing to be needing its South Americans back. The impact of The Rugby Championship will only be known when the players are back. It has been said within Argentina that the players will be better than ever due to having been exposed to a higher level of rugby than previously. From this perspective the Pumas currently missing cuold return to have a bigger impact.

The competition has already underlined two teams are the favorites for relegation. After four rounds only Mont de Marsan and Agen are winless and both clubs have struggled so far and this was highlights  in heavy loses on Saturday. 

Biarritz 27-8 Montpellier
The dream start to the season continues for Biarritz. its lattest victim, Montpellier was truly outclassed by a Biarritz team that won with a bonus point. After four rounds Biarritz are second only to Toulon. Both teams were missing players who were involved in the match against the All Blacks on Saturday. But the Americas was nonetheless represented as Taku Ngwenya started on the right wing for Biarritz.

Grenoble 52-7 Mont de Marsan
Mont de Marsan can virtually start planning for next season already as the club looks certain to drop back to the Pro d2 after losing all four of matches thus far and failing to score a bonus point. Grenoble, on the other hand look like being a permanent Top 14 club. Promising young Argentine Joaquin Tuculet started at fullback for Grenoble and was a try scorer.

Stade Français 20-20 Castres
A poor season could be on the cards for the Parisians who did not win what would have been a clear victory severla years ago. Former Pumas captain, Felipe Contepomi was on the bench for Stade Français. He was joined by the USA´s Scott LaValla. The Argentine-Italian, Sergio Parisse started in the backrow. 
Perpignan 18-13 Bayonne
A close win for Perpignan sees the club win at last and get clear of the relegation zone. The club is nonetheless a shadow of what it was two years ago. It needs to rebuilt an entirely new team or it could be in serious dange of being relegated in the coming seasons. 

Toulouse 62-13 Agen
A massive win for Toulouse should have the management very concerned at Agen. Toulouse missed its two Pumas while Agen had two fringe Pumas in its starting lineup. Esteban Lozada played secondrow while Belisario Agulla played on the right wing.

Toulon 42-12 Bordeaux-Begles
A comprehensive victory for Toulon sends a message to competition heavyweights Clermont and Toulouse. Five of Toulon´s six tries came in the second half. Neither team had access to Argentine players due to The Rugby Championship.

Clermont 13-12 Racing Métro
The impossible almost happened, Clermont almost lost at home. A bad performance from the home side was nevertheless sufficient to secure victory. Canada´s Jamie Cudmore remains on the sidelines for Clermont while four Pumas missed out on playing for Racign Métro due to The Rugby Championshp. 


Top 14 Standings
1 Toulon 18
2 Biarritz 17
3 Toulouse 15
4 Clermont 14
5 Grenoble 13
6 Castres 11
7 Racing Métro 10
8 Montpellier 9
9 Perpignan 6
10 Bayonne 6
11 Stade Français 6
12 Bordeaux 5
13 Agen 2
14 Mont de Marsan 0

Play-off´s places
Facing Relegation

Perpignan v Bayonne

1 comment:

  1. this is an intriguing issue....how good will these players be when they comeback and will their contributions after training and playing with the world's best translate into more first rate performances with their teams in Europe....a good story to follow up on....

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