Saturday, January 11, 2014

Amlin Challenge Cup Americas Exports- Round Five Wrap

Photo de Rugby:
Bustos Moyano featured for Bayonne
With one round of matches remaining the play-offs picture in the second tier competition of Pan-European rugby, the Amlin Challenge Cup is becoming increasingly clear. The tournament has been dominated by English and French clubs with the top two sides in each pool being from either the Aviva Premiership or Top 14. Like in previous rounds there were a number of players from the Americas in action as the last IRB defined region to be allocated a Rugby World Cup had test players from Argentina, Canada and the USA involved.  
Pool 1
Sale Sharks 21-3 Worcester Warriors
The all-English battle on Friday evening saw the Worcester Warriors remain winless in the 2013-2014 season. The club sits dead last in Pool 1 of the Amlin Challenge Cup and is in grave danger of being relegated from the Aviva Premiership. Current Puma Leonardo Senatore started for Worcester while former Puma Ignacio Mieres was on the bench. With the win the Sale Sharks is in charge of the pool with one match remaining.

Oyonnax 28-24 Biarritz
Neither French side has taken the Amlin Challenge Cup seriously due to them both being in danger of being relegated from the Top 14. Biarritz is in grave danger and needs a miracle to avoid relegation. Oyonnax, on the other hand is in danger but is presently outside of the bottom two. Both sides used the match to give game time to players who usually do not start in the Top 14. Argentine outside back Lucas González Amorosino was on the bench for the home side while USA winger Taku Ngwenya started for the visiting side.

Standings
1 Sale 19
2 Biarritz 15
3 Oyonnax 11
4 Worcester 3

Pool 2
Bordeaux 64-7 Mogliano
Pumas fly half Nicolás Sánchez was rested for the home match against Italian side Mogliano. With Bordeaux too far behind Bath and having greater concerns in the Top 14 Sánchez was one of a number of players not involved. There were, nonetheless, two starting players from Argentina. Former Puma Rafael Carballo played the match on the right wing while current squad member Joaquín Tuculet played fullback and scored a second half try. All three of the clubs Pumas will not be playing at the club next season. 

Dragons 13-30 Bath
It is almost certain that there will be no Welsh side competing in the Quarter Finals of the Heineken Cup and the chances of one appearing in the final eight of the Amlin Challenge Cup are also not strong. The Dragons will not be involved while the Blues, Ospreys and Scarlets are all in need of an improvement to finish in the top two of their pools. Bath´s bonus point win featured two Argentine front-rowers as Juan Pablo Orlandi started at tighthead prop and Eusebio Guiñazú played hooker. 

Standings
1 Bath 23
2 Bordeaux 14
3 Dragons 10
4 Mogliano 0

Pool 3
Newcastle 7-9 Brive
Two teams well off the pace in their respective domestic competitions fought out a close encounter in England on Thursday and it was the visiting side that collected the important four competition points. The win all but secures Brive a place in the Quarter Finals. 

Calvisano 11-23 Bucharest
The only Romanian side involved in Pan-European rugby competition completed its second win of the campaign to leave a team from a superior rugby nation winless with one round remaining. With Italy´s test players concentrated in Benetton Treviso and Zebre the teams playing in the Italian competition are unable to be competitive. Playing for Calvisano was former Italian test scrumhalf Pablo Canavosio who is from Argentina. 

Standings
1 Brive 18
2 Newcastle 15
3 Bucharest 10
4 Calvisano 2

Pool 4
Arix Viadana 19-19 Grenoble
The lack of interest from French sides in the Amlin Challenge Cup was evident in Italy as just seven days after defeating 2013 Heineken Cup champions Toulon, Grenoble was defeated by Arix Viadana. The Grenoble side was one lacking its leading players which saw wider squad members given a chance such as uncapped Canadian Shane O´Leary who was on the bench. Juan Pablo Sánchez played fly half for Arix Viadana. He kicked a goal. Also involved was Gonzalo Padro as a replacement.

Bayonne 13-26 London Wasps
English side the London Wasps extended its leadership in Pool 4 with a convincing away victory on Saturday evening in France. With the Wasps facing no danger of relegation the Aviva Premiership club was able to field a strong side knowing that it mattered not if it were to lose. Bayonne, in contract mixed it up and in doing so was unable to win and is now out of contention for a place in the play-offs. But with the focus being survival in the Top 14 this is of no concern to the club or its supporters. Argentine centre Santiago Fernández played fly half for Bayonne while former Puma Martín Bustos Moyano played wing and kicked three goals. USA centre Andrew Suniula was on the bench for the Wasps.

Standings
1 London Wasps 22
2 Bayonne 15
3 Grenoble 7
4 Arix Viadana 2

Pool 5
Paris 31-3 Cavalieri
The impressive season that has seen Stade Français impress in the Top 14 and currently occupy second position looks likely to also see the Parisians qualify for the Quarter Finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup. The Gonzalo Quesada coached team will be expected to complete a bonus point victory in its final match as will London Irish which means both teams would finish on equal points and the pool´s Quarter Finalist would need to be determined by calculations. USA back-rower Scott LaValla started for the Parisians. 

London Irish 79-3 Lusitanos
The gulf between the Aviva Premiership and Portuguese rugby was underlined on Saturday afternoon as London Irish completed a thirteen try to zero romp. One of the tries was scored by Canadian back-rower Jebb Sinclair who started for the English side. Lusitanos XV will complete its campaign by playing host to Stade Français on Thursday.

Standings
1 Paris 19
2 London Irish 19
3 Cavalieri 11
4 Lusitanos 0

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