Monday, May 5, 2014

Top 14: Benjamín Urdapilleta crucial to saving Oyonnax from relegation

Photo Rugby News
Former Pumas Benjamín Urdapilleta saved Oyonnax from relegation on Saturday. The Buenos Aires pivot kicked a late conversion from the touch line to see Oyonnax finish within two points of Brive to put itself one point ahead of Perpignan in the for and against points records.  In total Urdapilleta kicked three goals for seven points to finish as the fifth best points scorer in the Top 14 this season with 239 points ahead of Martín Bustos Moyano. 

Oyonnax scored two tries in the final round fixture against Brive and both came in the second half. Brive had played the better rugby in the first half but was ahead by just 6-3 at the interval. Brive, nonetheless, was in control midway through the second half and appeared to have sent Oyonnax back to the Pro d2. 

After sixty-three minutes Brive held a 19-3 lead which meant Oyonnax required two converted tries or it would be guaranteed of being relegated. The tries came with Benjamín Urdapilleta involved in both. The ten time capped fly half replicated his effort against Toulouse last round by setting up Guillaume Bousses for a similar try. Urdapilleta's kick over the defence was gathered by Bousses who went over to the left of the posts. 

Seven minutes later Oyonnax scored again as winger Jonathan Bousquet scored in the left corner. The try came from an overlap which Urdapilleta spotted and passed to Bousses who failed to gather but the bounce set up for Bousquet to touch down near the corner flag. Under extreme pressure Urdapilleta landed the conversion from the touchline to keep Oyonnax in the French top flight.

Urdapilleta's seven points of the day were important but it was his try assists which send Perpignan down into the Pro d2. The crucial plays by Urdapilleta will have been viewed by Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade who will announce a squad for next months test against Ireland and Scotland in the coming weeks. 

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