Sunday, December 7, 2014

Euro Rugby Champions Cup: Americas Players Review Round 3

Midway through the pool phase it is the French clubs who are placed best in the European Rugby Champions Cup. Of the five pools four are led by Top 14 clubs with Clermont, Racing Métro, Toulon and Toulouse all well-placed and the Harlequins leading the remaining group. The competition is, nonetheless, far from decided with a host of teams having strong changes of rising. Involved in round three were a host of players from the Americas - the only World Rugby region not to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. Argentina, Canada and the USA all had players involved this weekend in Europe's premier professional tournament.

Munster 9-16 Clermont Auvergne
A stunnind opening half display from Clermont Auvergne was sufficient to complete a history-making away victory at Thomond Park. The result sees the French side top of the table and now odds-on-favorite to win the group. Canadian Jamie Cudmore played the match in the second-row and celebrated the victory in style.

Sale Sharks 15-19 Saracens
The Sale Sharks were eliminated from play-offs contention in an all-English match in Northern England on Saturday. Involved for Saracens was Puma Marcelo Bosch and USA Eagle Chris Wyles. Bosch played 47 minutes while Wyles was unused from the bench. 

Pool 1
Clermont 10
Munster 9
Saracens 9
Sale Sharks 2

Harlequins 24-18 Leinster
The London based Harlequins have been horribly out of form in the Aviva Premiership this season but the club was nevertheless able to defeat the powerful Leinster on Sunday. The win sees the English side in pole position to qualify for the play-offs. 

Castres 17-32 Wasps
Bottom of the table in the Top 14, Castres Olympique has little interest in seriously competing in Europe this season. Should the club not improve dramatically in short time it will find itself stuck well down within the relegation zone. A host of players were rested v Wasps including Rodrigo Capó Ortega who did not play. Puma Ramiro Herrera was on the bench.

Pool 2 
Harlequins 12
Leinster 9
Wasps 7
Castres 1

Ulster 24-9 Scarlets
An all-pro 12 fixture on Saturday saw the Scarlets eliminated from the competition as Ulster won well in Belfast. Involved in the win was uncapped USA prop Callum Black who started at loosehead prop for the Northern Irish side. Black could play for the USA Eagles at Rugby World Cup 2015.

Leicester Tigers 25-21 Toulon
The biggest talking point of the round was Leicester's home win over Toulon earlier today. The narrow win sees the English side avoiding elimination but still remaining a point behind Toulon. Nicolás Sánchez staretd for Toulon, kicking eleven points while the Argentine-Italian Martín Castrogiovanni was playing tighthead prop. Playing opposite Castrogiovanni was Puma Marcos Ayerza while USA winger Blaine Scully played right wing for the Tigers.

Pool 3
Toulon 9
Leicester 8 
Ulster 6
Scarlets 4

Montpellier 5-30 Bath
Crisis in Montpellier has seen the club lose six straight Top 14 matches and not taking the European Rugby Champions Cup as seriously as it otherwise would. Gone is former Puma Mario Ledesma while other coaches have followed him though it may be set to change according to reports. Involved for Bath was Horacio Agulla who played on the right wing. 

Toulouse 19-11 Glasgow Warriors
French Top 14 strugglers Toulouse are primed to win pool 4 in the European Rugby Champions Cup. The southern French team came out on top against the on-form Glasgow Warriors on Sunday despite being plagued by injuries. Among the missing was former Puma Patricio Albacete. Tommy Seymour started for the Warriors. Despite being born in Tennessee, Seymour plays for Scotland.

Pool 4 
Toulouse 12
Glasgow 9
Bath 5
Montpellier 2

Ospreys 19-19 Racing Métro
A late comeback saw Welsh region the Ospreys winning at home in Swansea on Saturday to remain a chance of advancing in the competition. Racing Métro had started very strongly and were in firm control only to concede a late try which saw the teams compete to a draw. Canadian captain Tyler Ardron played in the back-row for the Ospreys while former USA junior Hanno Dirksen was a replacement. 

Benetton Treviso 15-38 Northampton Saints 
A strong second half performance from the Northampton Saints saw the reigning English champions tie Racing Métro in the standings. The Saints collected a bonus point in winning and scoring seven tries against the Italians. The first was scored by Samu Manoa with the North American playing number 8. Former Pumas Tomás Vallejos Cinalli was involved as a replacement for Treviso as was the uncapped Romulo Acosta. 

Pool 5
Racing Métro 10
Northampton 10
Ospreys 7
Treviso 0

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