Saturday, January 31, 2015

Top 14: Americas Players Review - Round 17

Top 14 - 17ème Journée
Photo Stade Toulousain
Argentine players from the past and present featured heavily this weekend in the 17th round of the Top 14. Also involved were players from both Uruguay and the USA, two further countries that will play in Rugby World Cup 2015. Both Argentina and Uruguay had players captaining teams this weekend. The Americas is the only region yet to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup but Argentina is interested in hosting in 2023. The calibre of players involved in the Top 14 this weekend served as a reminder of the importance of players from the Western Hemisphere to the global game.  

Toulon 24-17 Bayonne
Round 17 got underway on Friday evening with Toulon hosting Bayonne in a match involving six Pumas players past or present. Juan Martín Hernández played fly half for Toulon and scored nine points before being replaced as the goalkicker by Nicolás Sánchez who kicked five. Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe also started for Toulon while Matías Cortese was a replacement. Starting against Hernández was former Puma Santiago Fernández who combined with Martín Bustos Moyano for Bayonne's first try. Bustos Moyano scored twelve points. Neither he nor Fernández played for Argentina in 2014.

Montpellier 34-24 Bordeaux Begles
With scrumhalf Benoit Paillaugue red carded in the 20th minute Montpellier appeared to be headed for a home loss. Indeed at the 50 minute mark Bordeaux-Begles held the lead but Montpellier was able to, against the odds, complete a ten point win to gain valuable competition points. Former Puma Francisco Goméz Kodela featured as a second half front-row replacement for the visitors. The win sees Montpellier one point outside of the barrage zone. 

Brive 23-0 Grenoble
A strong performance at home from Brive sees the club continuing to appear as being safe from relegation. The two tries to none victory moves Brive above Bayonne while Grenoble drop out of the barrage zone.

La Rochelle 16-12 Clermont Auvergne
The relegation threatened La Rochelle claimed four competition points to sit two points behind both Lyon and Bayonne. Argentine Leandro Cedaro started in the second-row for La Rochelle. He is capped by Italy.

Lyon 11-13 Racing Métro
A hard fought away victory sees Racing Métro open a gap between itself and Bordeaux-Begles. Racing Métro is now on 45 points, six behind of the three teams tied for first position. Lyon is sitting dangerously close to the bottom and will need to win similar home fixtures to remain in the Top 14. Three Pumas featured in the match with Tomás Lavanini playing second-row for Racing Métro, Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro playing tighthead prop for Lyon and Juan Manuel Leguizamón coming off the bench.

Paris 13-15 Oyonnax
Stade Français Paris hold onto to the top of the table but only just. The Gonzalo Quesada coached team scored the game's only try but fifteen points from former Puma Benjamín Urdapilleta saw Oyonnax completing an important away victory that decreases the club's chances of being relegated. Agustín Figuerola partnered Urdapilleta in the halves while USA forward Scott LaValla was a replacement for the Parisians.

Castres 9-13 Toulouse
The 2013 Top 14 champions Castres continue to remain in serious trouble. In order to avoid relegation Castres must finish no lower than 12th and with time beginning to run out there is no guarantee of this eventuating. Toulouse's early exit from the European Rugby Champions Cup allows the former giants of the French game to focus entirely on the Top 14 and this saw a strong side playing away to Castres. Starting in the second-row was former Puma Patricio Albacete who captained Toulouse. His opposite number was Uruguay's Rodrigo Capó Ortega who captained Castres. Puma Ramiro Herrera played tighthead prop for Capó Ortega's club.

#
Club
Pts
1
Paris
51
2
Toulon
51
3
Clermont
51
4
Racing Métro
45
5
Toulouse
41
6
Bordeaux
40
7
Montpellier
39
8
Grenoble
38
9
Oyonnax
37
10
Brive
35
11
Bayonne
32
12
Lyon
32
13
La Rochelle
30
14
Castres
29

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