Saturday, March 2, 2013

Top 14 - Round 20 Wrap

Bayonne 6-6 Biarritz
A dour match began the round on Friday with the Basque derby failing to produce a try. The draw sees both teams get points but neither stands a realistic chance of playing in the post season matches. Neither will, however,  be relegated as both appear to be safe. Biarritz fielded USA winger Taku Ngwenya but there was, strangely no place for Marcelo Bosch. While Bosch showed flair at inside centre last week his replacement, Damien Traille offered close to nothing. Bosch will not continue lpaying for the club after this season.

Paris 10-37 Clermont
Suggesting the mighty ahve fallen is an understatement. The quality of the Paris team in 2013 is utterly embarassing considering it dominated in 2006-2007 and was a powerhouse in the years before and after. STade Français hosted Clermont Auvergne at the Stade de France and attracted a huge crowd but was hammered by a team that previously stuggled to win there. Today though, it is a mid-lower table side and there is little hope for Stade Français to improve without massive recruitment. The club has been hit hard by injuries with Felipe Contepomi an example of a player still unavailable but realistically the club just lacks the players of the needed quality. Pumas fullback Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga made his first appearance of the season after recovering from shoulder surgery. He scored a try after coming on as a replacement at inside centre. It was Stade Français´s only try while Clermont scored four with one going to Canadian secondrower Jamie Cudmore. There was also an American as USA backrower Scott LaValla started for the Parisians.

Bordeaux 48-17 Agen
The race to avoid relegation is far from over but in winning by six tries to two Bordeaux-Begles have gone ahead of Agen to now leave the relegation zone. Bordeaux-Begles has also firmly shown that it is the more likely of the two to not be relegated. Agen now has a mountain to climb to ensure it does not drop. Bordeaux-Begles will take plenty of confidence and could well be ahead of Bayonne in not too long. Pumas flyhalf Nicolás Sánchez got some game time from the bench as did former Pumas winger Rafael Carballo. Of Agen´s three former Pumas one was involved as Esteban Lozada started in the secondrow.

Racing Métro 23-3 Grenoble
A great performance from Pumas winger Juan Imhoff saw Racing Métro confirm its position in the top six. Imhoff scored two tries and had a third denied from the video referee. He was joined in the team by other Pumas with Juan Martín Hernández also impressing from fullback. Manuel Carizza was invovled and again started in the secondrow. 

Castres 26-20 Montpellier
Sixteen poitns from South African Rory Kockott was decisive as the scrumhalf kicked six more points than his Montpellier opposite Menoit Paillaugue. The kicks were the difference between the sides in a match that saw Castres go to within less than one win of the top three. Uruguay´s Rodrigo Capó Ortega played in the secondrow for Castres while a host of players from across the Rio de la Plata featured for Montpellier. Agustín Creevy was the starting hooker and was a tryscorer, Lucas González Amorosino started at fullback and Maximilano Bustos played tighthead prop. Argentine winger Martín Bustos Moyano was also involved. He played the final ten minutes as a replacement. 

Mont de Marsan 17-31 Perpignan
Perpignan continues to rise while Mont de Marsan is all but confirmed of being relegated back to the Pro d2. The three tries to two victory featured sixteen points from Wales´s James Hook. 

Toulon 35-16 Toulouse
The final match of the day failed to live up to the hype but it was not a match short of action. Like the French test team, Toulouse has been very inconsistent this season and has been playing well below par. It was bell beaten by a Johnny Wilkinson inspired team as the former English World Cup final scored 26 points. Argentina´s Patricio Albacete played in the secondrow for Toulouse.

Top 14 Standings
1 Toulon 71
2 Clermont 69
3 Toulouse 60
4 Castres 58
5 Montpellier 54
6 Racing Métro 54
7 Perpignan 51 
8 Grenoble 47
9 Biarritz 43
10 Paris 41
11 Bayonne 37
12 Bordeaux 30
13 Agen 27
14 Mont de Marsan 15

* Play-off´s Places
* Facing Relegation

Bayonne v Biarritz

Stade Français Paris v Clermont Auvergne

Bordeaux v Agen

Racing Métro v Grenoble

Castres v Montpellier

Mont de Marsan v Perpignan

Toulon v Toulouse

1 comment:

  1. I think Bordeaux-Bègles have been unlucky at times this season. They have come close a few times in losses, but have been let down by the fact that they have perhaps the worst scrum in the league.

    I hope they stay up, Nicolas Sanchez should be first choice next season with Lopez likely to move to a top 8 team.

    I like Sanchez, but from a Pumas perspective it would be better for him to start more often in the Top 14. I believe he's better than some of the first choices of quite a few of those Top 14 teams ahead of Bordeaux. He could be first choice for Castres, Biarritz, Grenoble, Stade Français or Bayonne in my opinion.