Saturday, September 21, 2013

Top 14 Americas Exports - Round Seven Wrap

Francisco Goméz Kodela is getting plenty of game time for Biarritz
The surprizes continue to come with regularity in the Top 14 as after seven rounds it is far from conclusive as to which teams are the front-runners and which are likely to be trying to avoid relegation in May. There is. however a gap starting to appear between the bottom of the table and the mid table. As in previous rounds of the Top 14 round seven featured players from the Americas as the world´s last region to host a Rugby World Cup continues to be represented in rugby´s leading domestic competition.

Montpellier 43-3 Clermont
A shock result in the opinion of many saw heavyweights Clermont Auvergne hammered by Montpellier on Friday evening. The 9-10 combination of the home side was unstoppable as both Jonathan Pelissie and François Trinh-Duc scored two tries. Neither player is in the French test squad but this may change if Trinh-Duc can continue playing this way. Pelissie continues with the goal kicking tradition of French scrumhalves as he scored 33 points. There were two players from the Americas in the match with Argentine tighthead prop Maximilano Bustos starting for Montpellier and Canadian Jamie Cudmore playing in the Clermont second-row. Cudmore was injured in the match.

Toulouse 26-9 Castres
Both Toulouse and Castres have had good wins and uncharacteristic losses so fart this season and Saturday afternoon´s match continued this trend as the derby match was tilted very much in favor of Toulouse. As a result of the loss Castres drops out of the play-offs zone.

Brive 31-6 Perpignan
As the winners of the Pro d2 final last season Brive is a club expected to be relegated back to the French second division but early season form certainly suggests otherwise. Any time a team can defeat Perpignan by twenty-five points it is a club to be taken very seriously. 

Racing Métro 26-19 Bordeaux
Racong Métro continues to win matches but not play to its full potential. The sides win over Bordeaux-Belges on Saturday sees Racing Métro sit well up the standings. Former Pumas winger Rafael Carballo was involved for Bordeaux-Begles as a replacement.

Biarritz 21-27 Grenoble
The horror start to the season for Biarritz is showing little signs of ending as the Basque giants remain bottom of the table and in need of some fresh recruits. At the heart of the problem lies a list of aged players who are no longer able to have the same impact on a match. Biarritz had Argentine tighthead prop Francisco Goméz Kodela in its starting lineup. He is in competition with Maximilano Bustos to try to earn a palce in the Pumas squad for November.

Toulon 18-12 Bayonne
It was not convincing but it was a victory and one that keeps Toulon in a very healthy position while Bayonne is having a difficiult time similar to its Basque neighbor. The Toulon side was not at full strength but was still packed with notable players. The Argentine-Italian tighthead prop Martín Castrogiovanni started for Toulon. Neither Facundo Isa nor Martín Bustos Moyano took to the field for the match.

Oyonnax 15-16 Paris
Gonzalo Quesada may well be a future Argentina headcoach with 2016 being a possible time for him to take over. So far at Stade Français he has seen the Parisians improve from recent seasons and is gaining valuable professional experience which will help him develop. The away victory featured Argentine-Italian Sergio Parisse and USA international Scott LaValla as starting back-rowers. The opposition had a 9-10 Argentine combination with Agustín Figuerola playing scrumhalf and Benjamín Urdapilleta at fly half. They are currently the fourth choice players for Argentina in their respective positions. Urdapilleta kicked fifteen points for Oyonnax against Paris. 

1 Toulon 22
2 Paris 22
3 Montpellier 21
4 Toulouse 21
5 Racing Métro 20
6 Clermont 19
7 Grenoble 17
8 Perpignan 16
9 Bordeaux 16
10 Castres 16
11 Brive 15
12 Oyonnax 13
13 Bayonne 12
14 Biarritz 7

* Playoffs Zone
* Relegation Zone

Montpellier v Clermont

Toulouse v Castres

Brive v Perpignan

Racing Métro v Bordeaux-Begles

Biarritz v Grenoble

Toulon v Bayonne

Oyonnax v Paris

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