Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oyonnax and Benjamin Urdapilleta close in on the Top 14

Benjamin Urdapilleta
With four rounds remaining in the Pro d2 regular season eastern French club Oyonnax remains on track to win the competition. The surprize package of the season, Oyonnax is well out in front currently sitting in first place with 101 competition points. With the winner of the Pro d2 at the end of the regular season advancing to the Top 14 it would appear certain now that Oyonnax will be playing in the Top 14 next season. The teams who finish from second to five will dispute the Semi Finals and Final with the winner also set to play in the 2013-2014 Top 14 in place of the bottom two sides from the current season. In other words it is likely that Mont de Marsan and Agen will play in the Pro d2 next season in place of Oyonnax and one of La Rochelle, Brive, Pau, Aurillac, Lyon or Tarbes. With matches remaining against Brive, Auch, Béziers and Pau it would appear logical that Oyonnax can win at least one of these encounters to guranteee top spot of the Pro d2. Of the twenty-six rounds completed so far this season Oyonnax has won twenty-two matches, drawn one and lost three.

Last weekend Oyonnax played host to Lyon LOU and came away from the match with another victory. The 23-20 win was less than impressive as Oyonnax was outscored by three tries to one. The difference between the two teams came down to an Argentine player. Benjamin Urdapilleta was instrumental in the outcome of the match as he kicked six penalties to collect a personal haul of eighteen points. Pumas backrower Juan Manuel Leguizamón also featured in the match, for Lyon. The form of Urdapilleta should see him playing for Argentina again this year, with the June tests against England and Georgia quite likely to see him getting game time in combination with the soon to retire Felipe Contepomi. Urdapilleta would be hard pressed to get a call up for The Rugby Championship but, in playing Top 14 rugby next season, his chances of further honors appear high. He will be joined by formers Pumas scrumhalf Agustín Figuerola at the club next season.

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