Sunday, September 7, 2014

Top 14: Americas Players Review - Round 4

Photo Apleno Rugby
The fourth round of the 2013-2014 Top 14 saw a complete seven wins from seven matches for the home teams. There were, nonetheless, some matches of note with four of the seven matches being decided by one try or less. Involved were players from Argentina, Canada, Uruguay and the USA - three of whom have qualified for Rugby World Cup 2015 and one who could yet qualify. With the Americas being the only region yet to be allocated a Rugby World Cup the involvement of players from the Americas underlines the contribution the region is making to the global game.   

Montpellier 43-10 Castres
The poor start to the season for Castres continued on Friday as the 2013 French champions sunk to another defeat. Of note was the continued impressive form of François Trinh-Duc at fly half. Despite being arguably the leading pivot in the country he remains unwanted for international duty. Castres suffered by losing Scottish back-rower John Beattie to a tenth minute red card and lost by six tries to one. Uruguay's Rodrigo Capó Ortega started in Castres' second-row. Castres prop Ramiro Herrera was playing for Argentina.

Brive 26-19 Toulouse
Similar to in round three Toulouse was unimpressive against a team regarded as being a contender for relegation. Instead, thus far, Toulouse has had one strong performance out of four. Patricio Albacete started for Toulouse in the second-row. He may be called up for international duty in the coming days due to Tomás Lavanini having been cited for the cleaning out of Richie McCaw in a ruck in the Rugby Championship test in Napier.

Clermont 32-6 Racing Métro
Joining Montpellier on fourteen competition points at the top of the table is Clermont Auvergne. The central French side's big win over the Parisians slightly makes up for the loss at home against Montpellier last round. Involved was Canadian veteran Jamie Cudmore who started in the second-row. Juan Imhoff was missing for Racing Métro due to the Rugby Championship. 

Grenoble 30-12 La Rochelle
A comfortable home win at the Stade des Alpes sees Grenoble sitting in fifth position while La Rochelle remains bottom of the table. Having won last round against Toulouse La Rochelle is just two points in the relegation zone. 

Lyon 26-23 Oyonnax
An evenly fought derby went the way of the home side as Lyon's second win of the season sees the club getting off to a competitive start to its return to the Top 14. Oyonnax held a 13-9 half time lead but after Lyon had taken control Oyonnax scored a try in the final minute to finish within a try. Involved were two Pumas with Benjamín Urdapilleta kicking eleven points from fly half. Agustín Figuerola was a 51st minute replacement at scrumhalf. 

Paris 34-29 Bayonne
The Gonzalo Quesada coached Stade Français won an exciting encounter played in Paris on Saturday. The bonus point win sees the capital city team rise back up the standings to fourth. Involved for the home side were Argentine-Italian Sergio Parisse and USA forward Scott LaValla while Puma Santiago Fernández started for Bayonne.

Toulon 18-13 Bordeaux
2014 French champions Toulon failed to spark but managed to win without scoring a try. All eighteen points came from Frédéric Michalak who started ahead of Mat Giteau at fly half. He was u against fomer French international Lionel Beauxis who moved from Toulouse last season. Missing was Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe who started for Argentina v New Zealand.  

Clermont Auvergne 
Racing Métro  
La Rochelle 

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