Sunday, May 10, 2015

Top 14: Americas Exports - Round 24

With two rounds remaining four clubs are separated by a single competition point. All poitns on offer must then be taken by all to avoid relegation. Such is the competitiveness that eight out of the fourteen teams are not safe from relegation. Competition for places in the play-offs, similarly, remains open with the fifth placed Oyonnax just ten points ahead of Grenoble in eleventh place, a team just one point clear of the relegation zone. The play-offs are to feature players from the Americas who are to also play in this year's Rugby World Cup. The Americas is the only World Rugby defined region yet to be allocated hosting rights to a Rugby World Cup.

Toulon 37-21 Castres
A week after winning the European Rugby Champions Cup Final Toulon gave Castres plenty to think about by winning cleanly on Saturday. The outcome sees Castres remaining in grave danger of being relegated. With two rounds remaining Castres is tied with Bayonne and without more points one of the two will be relegated. The race to stay in the Top 14, however, sees many others being far from safe. Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (pictured above) played back-row for Toulon while Pumas teammate Ramiro Herrera started at tighthead for Castres. Also involved was Uruguayan Rodrigo Capó Ortega as a replacement for Castres. 

Bordeaux 26-23 Oyonnax
A match with everything to play for saw Bordeaux collecting the vital competition points to move further away from the relegation zone and, also, moving towards a place in the play-offs. Such is the competitiveness of the competition that Bordeaux is both a chance of making the final six and being relegated. Helping the team to victory was former Puma Francisco Goméz Kodela who started at tighthead prop. Benjamín Urdapilleta played fly half for Oyonnax scoring eighteen points. Both are outside chances at playing in the World Cup. 

Lyon 16-16 La Rochelle
The battle to avoid relegation all but came to an end today for Lyon as the team needed a victory but competed to a draw with La Rochelle. Unless Lyon can win with bonus points and Castres and Bayonne both score none Lyon will trade places with Pau next season. La Rochelle, by way of comparison, continues to fight on but the team is not yet safe from relegation. Starting in the second-row for La Rochelle was Leandro Cedaro who is Argentine but capped by Italy. Puma Francisco Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro was a reserve prop for La Rochelle. 

Montpellier 33-16 Bayonne
Both Montpellier and Bayonne entered their match-up on Saturday needing competition points. They did so, however, from differing standpoints. Montpellier entered from an identical position to that of Bordeaux while Bayonne did so equal to that of Castres. Bayonne competed strongly in the first half before the class of Montpellier took over to see the bigger city side home. Former Puma Santiago Fernández played fly half for Bayonne, scoring eight points while Martín Bustos Moyano also got on the score sheet from the bench as a replacement winger. The result sees Bayonne tied with Castres for the second relegation spot with two rounds remaining. 

Toulouse 67-19 Brive
A calculated effort from Brive on Saturday saw the team playing away to Toulouse with an intentionally weakened side. The decision was made due to the form of Toulouse and the complication of winning on the road. Time will tell as to whether or not Brive was correct in making the call. Toulouse, in contrast, took the opportunity to keep the pressure on Clermont with an eye to the Semi Finals. Starting for Toulouse was former Puma Patricio Albacete while a number of players unused or underused by the current French coach stood out. 

Grenoble 17-37 Clermont
The lackluster second half of the season from Grenoble continued in Saturday's final game. The previously well placed big city side was outplayed by Clermont Auvergne who was on a rebound from losing the European Rugby Champions Cup Final last Saturday against Toulon. The result sees Clermont remaining a point ahead of Toulouse while Grenoble are tied with Brive and must now get results against Toulouse and Lyon or face relegation.

Racing Métro 19-28 Stade Français
A rare Sunday fixture saw the battle of Paris taking place with Racing Métro hosting Stade Français. The home side failed to win despite the visitors losing their captain Argentine Sergio Parisse, who captains Italy, to a red card in the first half. With the win the Parisians are seven points ahead of both Oyonnax and Racing Métro putting them in a strong position for a first appearance in the play-offs since 2009. Puma Juan Imhoff played right wing for Racing Métro.

#
Team
Pts
1
Toulon
70
2
Clermont
67
3
Toulouse
66
4
Paris
65
5
Oyonnax
58
6
Racing Métro
58
7
Montpellier
55
8
Bordeaux
55
9
La Rochelle
52
10
Brive
48
11
Grenoble
48
12
Castres
47
13
Bayonne
47
14
Lyon
37

No comments:

Post a Comment