Saturday, January 26, 2013

Top 14 - Round 16 Wrap

Bayonne 22-12 Castres
The first match of the round was the only game played on Thursday. It saw Castres´s away record continuing to be far weaker than its record at home. Bayonne needed a win to give itself some breathing space from the relegation zone. It had a successful night as it won by ten points to deny Castres a bonus point. Castres did not score a try, a theme that has been all too familiar this season. The win makes it look all the more likely that either Agen or Bordeaux-Begles will be dropping to the Pro d2 alongside Mont de Marsan. 

Agen 9-13 Montpellier
The result was arguably satisfying for both teams. While Agen would have liked the win it needs every point it can get and getting one point out of a match against a Heineken Cup Quarter Finalists should be satisfactory. Former Pumas secondrower Esteban Lozada featured from the bench for Agen while Montpellier had three Argentine players in its starting lineup. Martín Bustos Moyano played the match at fullback and was the goalkicker, scoring eight points. A player who could be a future Pumas captain, Agustín Creevy started at hooker while Maximilano Bustos played tighthead prop.

Bordeaux Begles 15-22 Racing Métro
The home side is battling with Agen to avoid relegation and it showed its desperation and sensibility by kicking a penalty in the final minute. The result saw Bordeaux collect a bonus point to stay level with Agen. For Racing Métro the win sees the club move into seventh place on equal points with Perpignan and just one win behind Grenoble. Former Puma Rafael Carballo was on the bench for the hosts. he got 11 minutes game time. Racing Métro had five Pumas with three starting and two coming off the bench. Juan Imhoff started on the left wing, Juan Martín Hernández played fullback and Manuel Carizza started in the secondrow. Backrower Alvaro Galindo was a reaplcement in the 51st minute while Juan Pablo Orlando came on in the 75th minute. 

Paris 35-6 Grenoble
The home side backed up its qualification for the Amlin Challenge Cup Quarter Finals with a bonus point victory over its pool opponents, Grenoble. None of Stade Français´s Argentine players featured nor did trhe USA´s Scott LaValla but the Argentine-Italian Sergio Parisse was a replacement in the 56th minute. Argentine fullback Joaquín Tuculet played the full 80 minutes at fullback for Grenoble. The win sees the Parisians move ahead of Biarritz. 

Perpignan 26-19 Clermont Auvergne
The one true upset of the round occured in Perpignan as  the mid tabled side defeated second placed Clermont Auvergne which saw Perpignan go up the standings and Clermont go down. Clermont was not playing its strongest XV. Amongst the missing players was Canadian Jamie Cudmore. 

Toulon 15-9 Mont de Marsan
Not many clubs go to Toulon and leave with a bonus point and bottom of the table Mont de Marsan was not one likey to do so but the club did it. Toulon had no fewer than fourteen test players in its starting XV but nonetheless struggled. One of the international players starting was Argentina´s Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe. The Pumas captain played the full 80 minutes. Despite struggling to score points Toulon are nonetheless in firm control of the competition. 

Toulouse 19-14 Biarritz 
Toulouse raced out to a 13-0 lead in the 9th minute but thereafter was hardly impressive. Biarritz hit back to win a bonus point but nearly won the match as it had try scoring opportunities late in the match with the USA´s Taku Ngwenya going close. He played the full match on the right wing while Pumas centre Marcelo Bosch played at fullback. Bosch was used at first reciever at times during the match as the club continues to struggle to have a playmaker. If Bosch were not in The Rugby Championship it is probable that Biarrritz would move him permanently to flyhalf. Instead he will be released at the send of the season. 

Top 14 Standings
1 Toulon 61
2 Toulouse 54
3 Clermont 54
4 Montpellier 45
5 Castres 44
6 Grenoble 42
7 Perpignan 38
8 Racing Métro 38
9 Paris 37
10 Biarritz 37
11 Bayonne 30
12 Bordeaux 19
13 Agen 19
14 Mont de Marsan 9

* Play-Off´s Places

* Facing Relegation

Bayonne v Castres

Agen v Montpellier

Bordeaux-Begles v Racing Métro

Paris v Grenoble

Perpignan v Clermont Auvergne

Toulon v Mont de Marsan

Toulouse v Biarritz

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