Monday, October 28, 2013

Top 14 Americas Exports - Round Ten Wrap

Photo Rugby Rama: Agustín Figuerola has been getting plenty of game time for Oyonnax
After ten rounds of the 2013-2014 Top 14 upsets continue and there are many sides both in contention for a place near the top and the foot of the table. With the bottom two both being relegated every win in crucial as is every bonus point. Thus far it appears that former powerhouses Biarritz is the only side that can be penciled in for relegation. The club has been so poor that it is already three wins behind the safety zone. 

Bayonne 24-19 Montpellier
The relegation threatened Bayonne completed an important home victory on Friday evening to move out of the relegation zone for the time being. Nineteen points from Martín Bustos Moyano could well have caught the attention of Daniel Hourcade who is to select a Pumas squad on Tuesday. Joining the Córdoba winger in the starting lineup for Bayonne was Santiago Fernández while their former colleague at Montpellier, Maximilano Bustos recieved game time from the bench. Bustos was not selected for the Rugby Championship but it a favorite now to repalce the injured Juan Figallo.

Toulouse 13-12 Toulon
A disaster for Los Pumas in Toulouse as captain Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe suffered a serious injury. He was not in the starting lineup for Toulon but in coming on to play as a replacement he had to be replaced himself after fourteen minutes. Corcho fractured his elbow in a ruck and is now likely to need a lengthily recovery. Daniel Hourcade will therefore need to name a new captain with the obvious name being Patricio Albacete who started in the second-row for Toulouse. But with Pato Albacete having been the reason for Phelan stepping down Hourcade will not be able to name Albacete.

Castres 39-0 Biarritz
The crisis that sees Argentina left without a captain is not something Biarritz supporters or players are concerned about at all. The proud Basque club now has one foot in relegation after again suggering a big loss. The scale of the defeat against 2013 champions Castres was unheard of and leaves Biarritz in big trouble. Starting for Castres was former Uruguayan captain Rodrigo Capó Ortega while former Pumas tighthead prop Francisco Goméz Kodela was on the Biarritz bench. USA Eagles speedster Taku Ngwenya started for Biarritz.

Grenoble 23-10 Oyonnax
In years gone by Grenoble v Oyonnax had been a derby match in the Pro d2 but for the first time ever it was a Top 14 fixture and a packed stadium saw the home team prevail. Three Pumas who could be in Hourcade´s squad started the fixtire for Oyonnax. Lucas González Amorosino played his first Top 14 match of the season after recently arriving at the club while the 9-10 combination of Agustín Figuerola and Benjamín Urdapilleta again started. None of the three were regular starters under Phelan.

Clermont 36-29 Brive
The game of the round saw powerhouses Clermont Auvergne almost lose at home for the first time in a number of seasons. Brive led for much of the match before Clermont´s replacements made the difference. Regular starters Brock James, Morgan Parra and Wesley Fofana were all missing in the backs and it almost saw disaster. Canadian enforcer Jamie Cudmore made his injury come back to start in the second-row for Clermont.

Perpignan 31-20 Bordeaux
Perpignan has been quietly performing and rising up the standings in the Top 14 this season. The Catalan club is now tied with Montpellier and Toulon for third position and is playing some good rugby. Pumas fly half Nicolás Sánchez was on the bench for this fixture while Rafael Carballo missed out. The Bordeaux-Begles pair are to be joined by Joaquín Tuculet in training on Monday following his arrival from Argentina.

Racing Métro 16-12 Paris
The Parisian derby was far mared by tension and foul play. It was also a night of reflection as the Stade de France had around 30,000 in attendance which is noticably lower than the crowds that attended fixtures at the venue throughout the 2005-2011 period. Both Juan Imhoff and Juan Martín Hernández started for Racing Métro but neither will have been entirely happy with their performances. El Mago played out of position, again starting at inside centre. Starting in the back-row for Racing Métro, who was the home side, were Scott LaValla and Sergio Parisse.

Standings
1 Toulouse 31
2 Clermont 29
3 Montpellier 28
4 Perpignan 28
5 Toulon 28
6 Paris 27
7 Grenoble 27
8 Racing Métro 26
9 Castres 25
10 Brive 23
11 Bordeaux 21
12 Bayonne 20
13 Oyonnax 17
14 Biarritz 8

* Play-Offs Zone
* Relegation Zone

Bayonne v Montpellier

Toulouse v Toulon

Castres v Biarritz

Grenoble v Oyonnax

Clermont v Brive

Perpignan v Bordeaux

Racing Métro v SF Paris

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