Saturday, February 21, 2015

Top 14: Americas Exports - Round 18 Wrap

Photo Rugby Rama
The eighteenth round of the Top 14 was another in which home teams proved to have an edge over their visitors. Of the seven matches six were home wins and one was a low scoring draw. The manner of the competition is such that it is competitive both at the top and the bottom of the table as it remains unclear as to whom will be the teams contesting the final and who will be relegated. Involved in round 18 were a host of players from the Americas, the only region yet to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup. The South American country of Argentina is interested in hosting the global event in 2023. 

La Rochelle 19-12 Brive
A rare Thursday evening fixture got the round underway. Looking to collect competition points at home to get out of the relegation zone La Rochelle knocked-over Brive to move just one point behind the same side but is only one point ahead of the now 13th placed Lyon. Argentine Leonardo Cedaro who is capped by Italy played for La Rochelle.

Bordeaux 28-23 Toulon
The match of the round saw Bordeaux-Begles coming from behind to defeat competition favorites and reigning champions Toulon on Saturday afternoon. Involved for the home side was former Puma Francisco Goméz Kodela while Toulon had three Pumas starting in the form of Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, Juan Martín Hernández and Nicolás Sánchez who landed five goals. Matías Cortese was the replacement hooker.

Bayonne 23-6 Paris
With La Rochelle winning on Thursday Bayonne desperately needed a home win against Stade Français earlier today to stay clear of the relegation zone. The Basque's win sees the club four points ahead of Lyon and eight ahead of Castres. Former Puma Santiago Fernández was directing traffic for Bayonne from fly half while Martín Bustos Moyano came off the bench to land a 67th minute penalty. USA forward Scott LaValla was a replacement for the Parisians.

Grenoble 20-18 Montpellier
With the final minutes approaching Montpellier was on track for an upset away victory only for a 77th minute penalty to save Grenoble. The narrow victory sees Grenoble staying in touch with the barrage play-offs while Montpellier slip behind Oyonnax to now occupy 9th position.

Oyonnax 23-13 Castres
Bottom of the table Castres had one of its best chances of winning away from home but, instead, returned home deeper in the relegation zone. The 2013 champions are now five points, or a bonus point victory, behind where they need to be to avoid being relegated. Missing was former Puma Benjamín Urdapilleta who is injured. He is expected back in time for Oyonnax's next match which will be at home against Toulouse on March 07. Starting at scrumhalf today was former Puma Agustín Figuerola. Uruguay's Rodrigo Capó Ortega played second-row for Castres and Puma Ramiro Herrera was a replacement. 

Toulouse 23-20 Lyon
Having gone into the break with a commanding lead Toulouse appeared to be on course for a bonus point home victory. Lyon, though, fought back well to come close to causing an upset. Starting in the second-row was Patricio Albacete who will never play for Argentina again. Involved for Lyon were current Pumas and likely Rugby World Cup 2015 forwards Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. 

Racing Métro 13-13 Clermont
In the final match of the round a match featuring two of the competition's top four placed sides went down to the wire. With the teams competing to a draw they both collected two competition points. As such Clermont now lead the competition while Racing Métro are one win behind Parisian rivals Stade Français. Puma Juan Imhoff started on the left wing for the home side.

#
Club
Pts
1
Clermont
53
2
Toulon
52
3
Paris
51
4
Racing Métro
47
5
Toulouse
45
6
Bordeaux
44
7
Grenoble
42
8
Oyonnax
41
9
Montpellier
40
10
Bayonne
37
11
Brive
35
12
La Rochelle
34
13
Lyon
33
14
Castres
29

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