Monday, September 17, 2012

Top 14 - Round 5 Wrap

Scott LaValla
After five rounds of the 2012-2013 Top 14 Season not a lot is clear. Some sides have been performing above their reputation and others are looking like having their work cut out. It is already clear that mont de Marsan is going to need a miracle to avoid the drop to the Pro d2. But just who will be joining the South-Western French club is wideopen. There are six clubs currently separated by one bonus point win who could be regarded as being threatened with relegation. They are Agen, Bayonne, Bordeaux-Begles, Montpellier, Perpignan and Stade Français. Of these clubs three are missing players to The Rugby Championship with Montpellier missing six, Bordeaux-Begles two and Stade Français one. Montpellier aside, the other five clubs are simply playing badly. 

The competition leaders have already lay down a marker. Toulon are now a full victory clear of the second played Clermont. Reigning champions Toulouse are surprizingly in fourth position and had a poor showing this past weekend losing badly to strugglers Perpignan. Had Perpignan not win it would be tied with Agen and Stade Français. The match of the round saw Agen win for the first time this season with an epic 32-26 victory over Grenoble.

Montpellier 25-32 Toulon
Four players from these clubs started in the 22-19 loss against Australia on Saturday. While a further two are in the squad for the tournament. Lucas González Amorosino, Santi Fernández Juan Figallo and Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe all started on the Gold Coast. 

Agen 32-26 Grenoble
Neither club has played in the Pumas squad but both had Argentine players for this match. Fringe Pumas players were involved for both teams with Esteban Lozada starting in the secondrow for Agen and Joaquin Tuculet starting at fullback for Grenoble. Neither Miguel Avramovic nor Belisario Agulla played for Agen however.

Bordeaux-Begles 30-24 Stade Français
Bordeaux continue to be a force at home while Stade Français continue to struggle. Both teams missed players to The Rugby Championship but neither had players starting against Australia. The USA´s backrower Scott LaValla started on the side of the scrum for the Parisians. 

Perpignan 34-20 Toulouse
While Patricio Albacete was playing his 50th test match for Los Pumas his club had an epic failure with an unexpected loss. Nicolás Vergallo was also involved in the Pumas clash with the Wallabies. The Toulouse starting team had thirteen international players starting. 

Bayonne 18-25 Racing Métro
A good away win for Racing Métro The Argentine-Italian Santiago Dellapé started in the secondrow for Racing Métro. The club was without four players featuring in The Rugby Championshp. Three of them played on Saturday - Juan Martín Hernández, Juan José Imhoff and Juan Pablo Orlandi. 

Mont de Marsan 6-14 Clermont
Another loss for Mont de Marsan sees the favorites for the wooden spoon only underline its chances of dropping. Canada´s Jamie Cudmore returned for Clermont, starting in the secondrow.

Castres 28-13 Biarritz
Francisco Goméz Kodela started at tighthead prop for Biarritz. The team was without centre Marcelo Bosch who was playing for Los Pumas. Manuel Carizza and Eusebio Guinãzú were also playing for Argentina but both are off contract with Biarritz. Uruguay´s Rodrigo Capó Ortega did not play for Castres but USA speedster Taku Ngwenya started for Biarritz.

Top 14 Standings
1 Toulon 22
2 Clermont 18
3 Biarritz 17 
4 Toulouse 15
5 Castres 15 
6 Grenoble 14
7 Racing Métro 14
8 Perpignan 11
9 Montpellier 10
10 Bordeaux 9
11 Bayonne 7
12 Stade Français 6
13 Agen 6
14 Mont de Marsan 0

Play-off´s placings 
Facing Relegation

Montpellier v Toulon

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