Sunday, November 9, 2014

Top 14: Americas Players Review - Round 11


Photo: Rugby Wrap-up
Despite the IRB international release window being in full swing there was a full round of Top 14 rugby in France. The competition will now take a break enabling the country to focus on France's home tests at the Stade de France against Australia and Argentina. Argentina, Canada and the USA all played tests this weekend but all, nonetheless, had players involved in round 11 of the Top 14. A number of Argentine players involved, such as Benjamín Urdapilleta (pictured to the right), performed well to give Los Pumas options to consider following a substandard performance against Scotland.


Montpellier 10-25 Brive
One of the form clubs in the early rounds of the season now sees itself in the bottom half of the standings. Montpellier has been leading the competition but lost at home against a team expected to be in serious danger of relegation, Brive. The Friday night fixture was another in which Montpellier without François Trinh-Duc failed to win. Involved for Montpellier were two Argentine props. Nahuel Lobo and Emiliano Coria entered the fixture in the 53rd and 54th minutes.

Castres 22-14 Toulon
Both Castres and Toulon had a host of playing missing to international duty and this hampered both teams. Had the match not been played during thr IRB mandatory international release window then the chances of a Castres victory would have been slim. Starting for Castres was Uruguayan second-rower Rodrigo Capó Ortega. 

Clermont 51-9 Paris
Clermont Auvergne went top of the table with a thundering home victory over Stade Français on Saturday. Jamie Cudmore played for the home side in the second-row and, as such, was missing from international duty. He is to link up with the Canadian squad ahead of next weekend's fixture against Samoa. Having started against New Zealand in Chicago last Saturday Scott LaValla was back for Stade Français while Santiago Gárcia Botta made his Top 14 debut for the Gonzalo Quesada coached club.

Grenoble 34-30 Lyon
A local derby in France's east saw ten successful kicks at goal and a home win for Grenoble who were outscored by three tries to one. The win sees the club continuing to be well placed in fifth position while Lyon fall to bottom of the table despite having secured an away bonus point. 

Oyonnax 37-9 La Rochelle
Two clubs lacking the same financial power enjoyed by the likes of Montpellier, Toulouse, Clermont, Stade Français or Toulon met on Saturday evening and the result  saw Oyonnax rising up to tenth position. The five tries to zero performance was with unwanted Argentine players Agustín Figuerola and Benjamín Urdapilleta starting in the halves. Arguments for both players to be involved with Los Pumas exist and they could both indeed be called up. Figuerola played better rugby than did Martín Landajo against Scotland. Leandro Cedaro of Argentina started in the second-row for La Rochelle. He is capped by Italy.

Racing Métro 27-10 Bayonne
A win against Racing Métro in Paris is rare but Oyonnax managed to do so in round ten. With the club now having lost a notable number of players to international duty Bayonne was in a prime position to also win in the French capital. Racing Métro, though, dominated to hold a 19-3 half time lead. Starting for Bayonne were two former Pumas with Santiago Fernández playing inside centre and Martín Bustos Moyano kicking two goals from fullback.

Bordeaux-Begles 20-21 Toulouse
The final fixture of round eleven saw an understrength Toulouse topple Bordeaux-Begles away. The narrow victory sees Toulouse climb to now be just one point outside of the barrage zone. The Argentine players contracted to the two clubs were not involved in round 11. Further calls for Patricio Albacete to return to Los Pumas have been made but authorities have told Argentina 2023 that he will never play again so long as Daniel Hourcade is in charge.

1
Clermont
36
2
Toulon
33
3
Paris
31
4
Racing Métro
29
5
Grenoble
28
6
Bordeaux
28
7
Toulouse
27
8
Montpellier
26
9
Brive
22
10
Oyonnax
21
11
Bayonne
21
12
La Rochelle
19
13
Castres
19
14
Lyon
18

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