Saturday, April 11, 2015

Top 14: Americas Exports - Round 22

Photo Rugby Rama
Round 22 of the Top 14 continued with the unpredictability as higher positioned sides did not have easy wins. Three of the top four were unable to win their matches this weekend while lower down there were further changes to the relegation zone as the current Top 14 season is set to go down to the wire to determine both the play-offs and the two bottom places sides which will be relegated. Involved this weekend were a number of players from the Americas with Pumas past and present underlining the contribution of Argentina to global rugby.  


La Rochelle 19-19 Paris
The round got underway on Friday evening with the relegation threatened La Rochelle hosting title contenders Stade Français. The home side led for the majority of the match but conceeded a 73rd minute try which saw the teams compete to a draw. The result is two competition points for both teams. On the bench for La Rochelle was Argentine Leandro Cedaro who is capped by Italy. That country's captain, Sergio Parisse, played for the Parisians as did USA forward Scott LaValla. The club is coached by former Puma Gonzalo Quesada who was the top scorer in Rugby World Cup 1999.

Racing Métro 24-24 Montpellier
Looking to bounce back from a last second loss against Saracens in the European Rugby Champions Cup Racing Métro played host to Montpellier on Saturday. Leading 24-10 after 51 minutes the home side was well positioned but failed to score again and allowed Montpellier back into the game. The southern visitors completed a late draw with a penalty two minutes from full time. 

Brive 22-20 Lyon
The relegation threatened Brive played host to bottom of the table Lyon in a must win match and came from behind to secure the competition points. Lyon had been leading at half time and outscored the hosts by two tries to one. The result gives Brive some breathing space while Lyon are now seven points behind where they need to be to survive. Puma Juan Manuel Leguizamón made his come back from injury for Lyon. 

Toulouse 20-17 Bayonne 
The former undisputed giants of French rugby, Toulouse were trailing the relegation threatened Bayonne at half time and only came out on top with a fin three minutes from full time. The age of many of the senior players would appear to be directly related to the fortunes of the team in this as well as recent seasons. Starting and scoring a try was former Puma Patricio Albacete who remains on a long term deal with the club. Benjamín Macome, Martín Bustos Moyano and Santiago Fernández all started for Bayonne. Bustos Moyano landed nine points. 

Clermont 10-11 Oyonnax
The pressure of trying to succeed in both France and Europe saw Clermont Auvergne change it's entire team from that which humiliated English reigning champions Northampton last weekend. As a result the team was unable to deliver and Oyonnax was able to complete an historic win at the Stade Marcel Michelin. Playing fly half was former Puma Benjamín Urdapilleta who kicked two penalties. Agustín Figuerola did not play and is out for the season following surgery. 

Grenoble 24-25 Toulon
An away victory in the Alps saw Toulon become outright leaders in the competition. With Clermont Auvergne, Stade Français and Racing Métro all losing Toulon is now has a cushion between itself and third place of four points meaning it is on track to avoid barrage to advance directly to the Semi Finals. While Grenoble lost by a notable margin the team nonetheless outscored Toulon by four tries to two. Involved for Toulon was Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe who started at the back of the scrum. Also involved from Argentina was Martín Castrogiovanni who has been capped over 100 times by Italy. 

Castres 22-20 Grenoble 
A nervous Castres looked to make it two wins in-a-row by defeating the out-of-form Bordeaux-Begles in the final match of the round. Castres entered the match in the relegation zone but now sit above Bayonne on points differential. Both are ahead of only Lyon who, in trailing by seven, appear to be all but officially relegated. Starting for Castres was Uruguayan second-rower Rodrigo Capó Ortega while Puma Ramiro Herrera was on the bench. Former Puma Francisco Goméz Kodela started at tighthead prop for Bordeaux.

#
Team
Pts
1
Toulon
65
2
Clermont
62
3
Paris
61
4
Racing Métro
57
5
Toulouse
57
6
Oyonnax
53
7
Montpellier
50
8
Grenoble
48
9
Bordeaux
47
10
La Rochelle
46
11
Brive
44
12
Castres
42
13
Bayonne
42
14
Lyon
35

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