Saturday, January 10, 2015

Top 14: Americas Players Review - Round 16


Photo Rugby Time
The sixteenth round of the Top 14 was a reminder of the importance that players from outside of France are having on the French domestic championship. Involved were players from across the globe, including a large number from the Americas, the only region yet to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. This ought to change in 2023 with Argentina hosting the global event. This weekend in France Argentine players contributed to their teams winning matches as players both past and present involved in Los Pumas had a notable impact on the outcomes of matches.

Paris 49-13 Castres
The round got underway on Friday evening with Stade Français hosting the 2013 champions Castres and completing a significant victory which highlights the struggles of the Tarn club to avoid relegation. Castres was captained by Uruguayan Rodrigo Capó Ortega while Paris was led by Argentine Sergio Parisse who is the captain of both the club and of Italy. Parisse had a memorable evening in scoring three tries for the Gonzalo Quesada coached team. Also involved from the Americas was Ramiro Herrera who was a replacement prop for Castres.

Toulon 32-23 Racing Métro
2014 winners Toulon were given a serious challenge by an understrength Racing Métro in the opening match of Saturday. Playing at home Toulon started strongly before Racing Métro made a match out of it. Starting at fly half for Toulon was Juan Martín Hernández while Nicolás Sánchez was unused from the bench as was Argentine-Italian Martín Castrogiovanni. Puma Tomás Lavanini was a replacement for Racing Métro. 

Bayonne 23-22 Lyon
A crucial match in the race to avoid relegation saw Bayonne edge out Lyon in a thriller. In winning Bayonne claimed vital competition points to move up to 10th position while Lyon side just one competition point and place behind. Both are now one win above Castres. Involved in the match were Pumas Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro for Lyon while Benjamín Macome, Santiago Fernández and Martín Bustos Moyano all played for Bayonne. Bustos Moyano kicked ten points.

Bordeaux 34-16 Grenoble
Bordeaux-Begles moved above Grenoble with a convincing home win that featured former Puma Francisco Goméz Kodela on the bench. The two sides are well-positioned in the race to the play-offs as are Racing Métro and Toulon. All four were in the second division when France hosted the Rugby World Cup in 2007.

Oyonnax 20-13 Montpellier
Having defeated Toulon last round Montpellier were expected to back it up with a win on the road against Oyonnax but instead it was the small-town side from eastern France that came out on top. The result sees Oyonnax now just two competition points behind Montpellier and gives the club a five point buffer above the relegation zone. Involved in the match were former Pumas Benjamín Urdapilleta and Agustín Figuerola. Urdapilleta kicked two goals.

Toulouse 29-26 La Rochelle
Bottom of the table La Rochelle visited Toulouse and came close to pulling-off an unprecedented upset win. In years gone by Toulouse would have won such a fixture by a significant margin that would have included many tries. This season, however, Toulouse is not at its best and there are no easy-wins in the Top 14. Former Puma Patricio Albacete played in the second-row for Toulouse while Argentine-Italian Leandro Cedaro was a replacement for La Rochelle.

Clermont 42-20 Brive
Clermont joined Stade Français at the top of the table on 50 competition points with a convincing win in the final match of the round earlier this evening. The five tries to three victory was without Jamie Cudmore who is being offered an additional year at Clermont Auvergne despite being 36 years old. The Canadian has played in five championship finals for the club.

#
Team
Pts
1
Clermont
50
2
Paris
50
3
Toulon
47
4
Racing Métro
41
5
Bordeaux
40
6
Grenoble
38
7
Toulouse
37
8
Montpellier
35
9
Oyonnax
33
10
Bayonne
32
11
Lyon
31
12
Brive
31
13
Castres
28
14
La Rochelle
26

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