Sunday, November 11, 2012

Top 14 - Round 11 Wrap

Toulouse 27-9 Montpellier
The round started on Friday evening with one match, a repeat of the 2011 final. It was far from being a similar match however as both sides were missing a lot of players to international duty. Juan Figallo and Agustín Creevy were both playing for Argentina but the club held onto others including González Amorosino, Fernández, Bustos Moyano, Lobo and Bustos. Of these five three started with Maximilano Bustos playing tighthead prop, Martín Bustos Moyano on the left wing and Santi Fernández at flyhalf. Bustos Moyano kicked three penalties before leaving the field with injury in the final minute of the first half. He was replaced by Lucas González Amorosino. The injury could well mean that bustos Moyano´s long wait to play for Los Pumas becomes an even longer one. The selection of Fernández at flyhalf was interesting due to the clubs regular flyhalf François Trinh-Duc featuring from the bench for France in Les Bleus huge win over Australia in Paris on Saturday.

Biarritz 15-3 Perpignan
Both clubs were missing players to international duty and this depleted their stocks. This was espeically true in the case of Perpignan. There were, however, cases of players from both teams playing in this match instead of playing for their nations this weekend. In the case of Biarritz it meant there were players not featuring for Argentina or the United States of America. Los Pumas centre Marcelo Bosch started at outside centre and USA Eagles winger Taku Ngwenya started on the wing. Both players are expected to start next weekend with Argentina facing France and the USA facing Tonga. Biarritz also had Argentine tighthead prop Francisco Gómez Kodela on the bench.

Bordeaux-Begles 13-16 Castres
A late Castres penalty gave the away team a crucial victory in Bordeaux on Saturday. It helps out Castres´ greatly while it further complicates the religation threatened Bordeaux-Begles. Castres won with Uruguay´s Rodrigo Capó Ortega playing in the secondrow. His country will face Portugal toady in Montevideo. The home side was without two Pumas - the injured Rafael Carballo and flyhalf Nicolás Sánchez who enhanced his reputation greatly in Argentina´s win over Wales on Saturday.

Grenoble 9-6 Bayonne
The impressive start to the season and to the Top 14 continues for Grenoble as the western French club won again. Bayonne picked up a bonus point in loising by fewer than seven points but the club was no doubt looking for much more. Grenoble played without the services of Joaquin Tuculet who was in Cardiff featuring for Los Pumas from the bench against Wales.

Racing Métro 16-17 Mont de Marsan
The biggest shock of the round can be blamed on the international matches. Racing Métro was missing players to international duty for a variety of nations and it played out well for Mont de Marsan who was able to win its first match of the season. Racing Métro was missing three Pumas with Juan Martín Hernández, Juan Imhoff and Manuel Carizza also starting against Wales. The club, nonetheless had two others in the starting XV with Juan Pablo Orlandi playing tighthead prop and Alvaro Galindo playing in the backrow. Both are to join up with the Argentine squad in Lille.

Stade Français Paris 20-13 Agen
The Parisians continue to improve in ths standings and the club was certainly one of the lesser effected by the international matches. Felipe Contepomi was missing to Pumas duty and suffered a possible season engind injury in Cardiff. He now joins fellow Stade Français and Pumas centre Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga on the sidelines. Esteban Lozada had been expected to play for Agen but missed out due to injury. The extent of his injury means he will not play for Argentina against either France or Ireland despite having been named in the squad by Santiago Phelan. Neither Miguel Avramovic nor Belisario Agulla featured for Agen. 

Clermont Auvergne 24-21 Toulon
The invinsibility of the Stade Michelin continued as Clermont Auvergne held on to defeat Toulon on Saturday. Both sides were missing players to international duty. Toulon, for instance were without Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe who was leading Argentina to an important win over Wales at the same time as his club was playing in central France. Canada also played an international match in Wales this weekend, against Samoa in Colwyn Bay. The North Americans had a night to forget and the team was missing a number of players. One of them was Jamie Cudmore who played the full 80 minutes for Clermont Auvergne in the backrow.

Top 14 Standings
1 Toulon 42
2 Clermont 40
3 Toulouse 38
4 Montpellier 32
5 Castres 32
6 Grenoble 30
7 Biarritz 24
8 Paris 24
9 Racing Métro 21 
10 Perpignan 21
11 Bayonne 20
12 Bordeaux-Begles 16
13 Agen 16
14 Mont de Marsan 6

Play-Off´s Places
Facing Relegation

Toulouse v Montpellier

Biarritz v Perpignan

Bordeaux-Begles v Castres

Grenoble v Bayonne

Racing Métro v Mont de Marsan

Paris v Agen

Clermont v Toulon

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