Sunday, January 20, 2013

Amlin Challenge Cup - Round 6 Wrap

Pool 1
Gloucester 36-16 Mont de Marsan
A good home win for Gloucester sees the English club complete a perfect Amlin Challenge Cup campaign as the club is undefeated. As such it will host a Quarter Final. Gloucester is in good shape this season in the Aviva Premiership too which puts the club in a good position to play in the 2013-2014 Heineken Cup. 

London Irish 17-7 Bordeaux-Begles
A dead rubber took place between two clubs struggling to avoid relegation in their respective competitions. London Irish is second from the bottom in the Aviva Premiership while Bordeaux-Begles is tied with Agen for 12th spot, meaning it is technically facing relegation. Elimination from the Amlin Challenge Cup is, arguably, good news for both clubs as they can now focus 100% on their domestic competitions. Two Argentine players were on the field for Bordeaux-Begles with Rafael Carballo starting on the wing and Nicolás Sánchez playing flyhalf. Sánchez convereted his teams only try.

Pool 1 Standings
1 Gloucester 27
2 London Irish 19
3 Mont de Marsan 10 
4 Bordeaux-Begles 2

Pool 2
Perpignan v Rovigo
Perpignan secured top spot with a convincing home victory over Italian side Rovigo. It sees the Italian side finishing bottom of the table like all other Italian sides in the competition. Similarly, in the Heineken Cup, both Benetton Treviso and Zebre were bottom of the table in their respective pools. 

Worcester Warriors 71-19 Bizkaia Gernika RT
Aviva Premiership side the Worcester Warriors finished joined top of the table together with Perpignan but the French club finished top of the table due to its superior performances in the matches between the two clubs in the competition. Argentina´s Santiago Salas scored the only try of the match for the Spanish club. 

Pool 2 Standings
1 Perpignan 25
2 Worcester 25
3 Gernika 8
4 Rovigo 1

Pool 3
Dragons 19-20 London Wasps
A poor shopwing from pool winners London Wasps was nonetheless enough for the club to qualify for the Quarter Finals undefeated. With the elimination of the Newport-Gwent Dragons and the poor shoing of the Cardiff Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets in the Heineken Cup there will be no Welsh teams playing in the play-off´s of either competition. It maty be good news for the Welsh national team, however, as the players will be made more readily available for the Six Nations. 

Mogliano 0-54 Bayonne
An Italian side hosted a struggling French side only to be badly humiliated. Such is the nature of the Amlin Challenge Cup that the whole structure needs to be scrutinized and rethought entirely. Clubs from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14 are able to win their matches against teams from elsewhere and the high number of Italian teams ought to be a theme for debate. 

Pool 3 Standings
1 London Wasps 25
2 Bayonne 20
3 Dragons 13
4 Mogliano 0

Pool 4
Agen 19-9 Calvisano
Not the greatest game for either side but it was never going to be as this dead rubber had not real meaning at all for either side. Argentina´s Belisario Agulla started on the wing for the French club and did not have his best match as he was yellow carded. 

Bath 53-8 Bucharest
English English Bath may be well outsie of the play-off´s zone in the Aviva Premiership but that has not stopped the west country side from dominating Pool 4 of the Amlin Challenge Cup. Bath had won the pool and secrued a home Quarter Final with Pumas winger Horacio Agulla scoring one of the clubs nine tries. His form has been solid this season after he moved from the Leicester Tigers due to that clubs management being unhappy with him playing for Argentina in The Rugby Championship. 

Pool 4 Standings
1 Bath 29
2 Agen 17
3 Bucharest 9
4 Calvisano 7

Pool 5
Cavalieri Prato 0-47 Grenoble
Another example of what is wrong with the Amlin Challenge Cup as an Italian side was well defeated by a French side. Grenoble was playing in the Pro d2 until this season but was far too strong for Italian side Cavalieri Prato as it collected a bonus point victory that counted for nothing as Stade Français already had the pool in the bag. The four time capped Argentine prop, Guillermo Roan started for thwe Italian side while current Puams squad fullback Joaquín Tuculet scored two tries for Grenoble. Both players featured for Los Pampas XV in the 2011 season in which the Argentine side won the South African competition. 

Paris 39-17 London Welsh
A Paris v London match went the way of the French side with Stade Français easing to a bonus point victory to claim a Quarter Final placing. The six tries to two victory featured Argentine centre Lisandro Gómez Lopez in the starting lineup. Canada´s Phil MacKenzie had a very strong performance for the visitors as he scored two tries. 

Pool 5 Standings
1 Paris 25
2 Grenoble 20
3 London Welsh 14
4 Cavalieri Prato 2

* Qualified for Quarter Finals

Perpignan v Rovigo

Stade Français Paris v London Welsh

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