Wednesday, November 13, 2019

EPCRugby - Champions and Challenge Cups begin pool play

EPCRugby - Champions and Challenge Divisions

·         five, four-club pools in home-away contests within the pool from mid-November through third weekend in January to determine the eight-team playoffs frame (pool winners plus next best three); first playoff round on April 3-5; semis May 1-3; Grand Final on May 23, Stade de Marseille.
·         the competition is separated into two levels called champions and challenge, each of 20 clubs, comprised of teams from: Gallagher Premiership (England); Guinness Pro14 (Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales); and the Top 14 (France), as well as an Italian Top12 side and a Russian Premiership team.
·         40 clubs from three leagues (minus the pair of SA clubs, Cheetahs and SoKings, but with the addition of Cammi Calvisano of the Italian Top12 and Enisei-STM who hail from the Yenisei River town of Krasnoyarsk*

Pools, Placements and Performance to date - Champions Cup ClubSides

Pool 1: Benetton Treviso (Italy), Leinster (Ireland), Lyon (France), Northampton Saints (England)

Pool 2: Exeter Chiefs (England), Glasgow Warriors (Scotland), La Rochelle (France), Sale Sharks (England)

Pool 3: Clermont Auvergne (France), Bath Rugby (England), Harlequins (England), Ulster (Ireland)

Pool 4:  Munster (Ireland), Ospreys (Wales), Racing 92 (France), Saracens (England)

Pool 5: Connacht (Ireland), Gloucester (England), Montpellier (France), Toulouse (France)

- their leagues and present positions at their respective tables:
                Pool 1: petite Bassin de le Mort
                                Benetton Treviso are in Group B of the Guinness Pro14 and are in 5th place out of 7; 
                                Leinster are reigning GP14 champs, first in Group A and undefeated;
                                Lyon currently head the Top 14 chart (also called French 14 or Orange 14);
                                Northampton Saints are runners-up in Premiership just now, level on table points with its leader
                Pool 2:
                                Exeter Chiefs are now 6th-of-12 in Premiership
                                Glasgow Warriors, 4th in Group A of GPro14
                                La Rochelle, 9th in T14
                                Sale Sharks are 4th in Premiership

                Pool 3:
                                Clermont Auvergne is 6th at T14 Table
                                Bath sit 9th-of-12 on the Premiership chart
                                Harlequins are 10th-of-12 in Premiership
                                Ulster are rocking 2nd place in Group A of GPro14

                Pool 4Bassin de la Mort
                                Munster are 1st in Group B of GPro14;
                                Ospreys, 6th in Group A, seek answers to many questions now;
                                Racing 92, 10th in T14, but making movies after RWC season;
                                Saracens are 3rd in the Premiership, though they won the European Double last season

                 Pool 5:
                                Connacht are 4th in Group B of GPro14;
                                Gloucester rank 5th in Premiership;
                                Montpellier sit 7th in T14;
                                Toulouse are 8th in T14, but claimed the 2019 T14 title

Upcoming the Weekend:

Friday, November 15
     Gloucester v Toulouse at Kingsholm

Saturday, November 16
     Bath v Ulster at the Rec;
     Glasgow v Sale at Scotstoun;
     La Rochelle v Exeter at Marcel Deflandre;
     Leinster v Benetton at the RDS;
     Clermont v Harlequins at Marcel Michelin;
     Ospreys v Munster at Liberty Stadium

Sunday, November 17
     Connacht v Montpellier at the Sportsground;
     Northampton v Lyon at Franklin's Gardens;
     Racing 92 v Saracens at La Défense


Pools, Placements and Performance to date - Challenge Cup ClubSides

                Pool 1:
                                Castres Olympique (France), 11th-of-14 in T14, though they’re typically late starters;
                                Dragons (Wales), rank 5th-of-7 in Group A of the GPro14;
                                Enisei STM* (Russia), are the Park City Haggis of the global game, traveling great distances for a match; unlike Haggis, they are decided underdogs in their pool and thus are the XV of the Heart; Enisei won the Russian Premiership at the beginning of this month;
                                Worcester Warriors (England), are 8th-of-12 in the Premiership

                Pool 2: Bassin de la Mort
                                Bayonne (France), sit pretty in 4th at the T14 table;
                                London Irish (England), promoted this season, now 7-of-12 in England;   
                                Toulon (France), are 5-of-12 on the T14 now;
                                Scarlets (Wales), place 2nd in Group B of the GPro14 right now

                Pool 3:
                                Agen (France), are in a relegation station at 13-of-14 in France;
                                Bordeaux Bégles (France), at 2nd in T14 and looking strong;
                                Edinburgh (Scotland), are 3rd in Group B of GPro14;
                                Wasps (England), are 11th-of-12 in England

                Pool 4:
                                Bristol Bears (England), are very much a refreshing surprise in the ordering seat in England now-now;
                                Brive (France), sit 12th in France, not far from boot displacement;
                                Stade Français (France), a shock in the far corner of the Gaullist dungeon, one might think;
                                Zebre (Italy), lay last in GPro14’s Group A

                Pool 5:
                                Leicester Tigers (England), languish at the bottom of the cellar stairs in the English competition just now;
                                Cardiff Blues (Wales), are 6th-of-7 in GPro14’ Group B;
                                Section Paloise (France), aka Pau, are kinda streaking just now and show 3rd in France;
                                Rugby Calvisano (Italy), are currently 5th in the premier Italian league, Top 12, though the club from Italy’s rugby north sit only 3 table points from the leader’s chair; another decided underdog, and that’s why they’re our number 2!

Upcoming the Weekend:

Friday, November 15:
     Enisei-STM v Worcester Warriors at Kuban Stadium, Krasnodar;
     Agen v Edinburgh at Stade Armandie;
     Stade  Français v Brive at Jean Bouin;
     Bayonne v Toulon at Stade Jean-Dauger

Saturday, November 16:
     Calvisano v Cardiff at Pata Stadium, Calvisano;
     Dragons v Castres at Rodney Parade;
     Leicester v Pau at Welford Road;
     Bristol v Zebre at Ashton Gate;
     Scarlets v London Irish at Parc y Scarlets;
     Bordeaux Bègles v Wasps at Chaban-Delmas;

Small World?

* Enisei are the first Russian club ever to play in a major European rugby tournament (EPCRugby Challenge Cup-2015). The city they call home, Krasnoyarsk, is in Siberia, nearly 2,500 miles (4,000 kms) east of Moscow, or more than the distance from San Diego, California to Charleston, South Carolina. Enisei will contest Pool 1 where their nearest competition in the group is 3,500 miles (5,600 kms) to the west and that’s almost six hours chasing the sun. 

However, it should be noted that Enisei will be playing their home games in Krasnodar on the Black Sea, a mere 1,800 or so miles from their closest group competition, but closer actually to their competition than they are to their home town of Krasnoyarsk, by nearly 600 miles.  

Monday, November 11, 2019

European Professional Competitions: GP, GPro14, T14 WRaps

Gallagher Premiership, Guinness Pro14, Top 14 WRaps 

Gallagher: 12 teams, all in England; 22-match, home-away schedule; semifinals June 12, Grand Final, June 20

Gallagher Premiership Round 4 Wrap - By the Numbers

Home Happy: Bath, London Irish, Sale
Road Warriors: Bristol, Saracens, Worcester

Saints yet in the ordering spot at table, but Saracens most definitely at Northampton’s gate and now those corsairs have their nine England internationals returned from RWC duty, one may expect those holy gates to crash asunder in good time. However, 7,000,000... that’s a significant figure of 7.0 X 106 in pounds of scientific notation and that, purportedly, is the salary cap for any Gallagher Premiership squad, though that number may be bumped up 2,000,000  to 9,000,000 in allowable backroom shenanigans, errh,  “add-ons.” Evidently, Sarries got some ‘splaining to do as they’re under investigation for what Robert Kitson of The Guardian calls, “financial doping.” The London club was assessed a L5,300, 000 penalty and 35 table-points hit, which if their appeal, now underway, is not honored, puts them in today’s table, at negative 22 table points... not even in the kitchen, let alone at table, but such is the Saracens might, they’re likely to return for a 3rd Premiership Championship running on June 20... barring a tsunami of attrition, of course.

On the Weekend, By the Numbers:

                2              points the difference midway, 10-8, and Bath closed out league-leading Northampton Saints at the Rec, 22 - 13, despite seeing red in the 47th;  for their own badness, travelers got a brace of yellows after the 60-minute mark to confound themselves;

                11           for Saracens 19 years old 10, Manu Vunipola, on 1-and-3 from the tee and travelers topped Gloucester at Kingsholm, 21 - 12; Cherry-and-Whites dropped from 3rd-to-5th on the chart with the loss, while Saracens climbed into the third slot;

                14           for Worcester 10, Jono Lance, on 1-and-4 from the floor and Harlequins could not hold their 5-point halftime advantage, yielding 10 unanswered in the second stanza as Warriors overtook their hosts, 19 - 14, by the end of the day;

                22           for Sale 10, Ruan du Preez, on a 1-5-1 triple and 2 yellows for Sale, one to open innings and the second at the latter stages, against a late red for Wasps, made for fractivity at Salford City Stadium, but Sharks prevailed, 28 - 18; USA Eagles and Sharks 10, AJ MacGinty, came on in relief of du Preez with a brace of sticksplitters to seal the victory and Sale are now in playoff position;

                5             try, 5-point London Irish knocked Leicester Tigers back down the stairs to the bottom of the basement with the 36 - 11 joy at Madejski Stadium;

                17           in Exeter account and naught for guests, Bristol Bears, before stirring speech at the break inspired a 20-point second stanza return and Bears bit Chiefs hard, 20 - 17, at Sandy Park; Bristol now in topspot on equal table points with Northampton;

upcoming Round 5: THE Premiership continues to provide a fine fare at table, but it won’t be back on until post-Thanksgiving with...

                Friday, 11.29:

                                Bath (8) v (13) Saracens at the Recreation Ground: having recently risen from the basement, Bath will like to maintain their upward movement; tough ask against marauding Saracens;


                Saturday, 11.30:

                                Exeter Chiefs (10) v (5) Wasps at Sandy Park: home team need the win;                             

                                Northampton Saints (14) v (4) Leicester Tigers at Franklin’s Gardens; Saints will want this win with as many points as possible; Angry Cats in the musty-dusty cellar just now;

                                Worcester Warriors (9) v (11) Sale Sharks at Sixways: both require victory here; this’ll be a banger;

                                Bristol Bears (10) v (9)  London Irish at Ashton Gate: see above; each punching well above their respective weights just now;

                                Harlequins (6) v (10) Gloucester at Twickenham: travelers looking to make last week’s home loss an anomaly, while it’s kind of early for Quins to be this desperate

Guinness:14 teams = 2 conferences in 5 countries on 2 continents playing home-away within the conference, plus non-conference teams once, plus 2 additional games for a 21-match schedule; Grand Final on June 20th at Cardiff City Stadium, with playoffs on the four weekends preceding that date.

Guinness Pro14 Round 6 Wrap
Home Happy: Blues, Edinburgh, Munster, Scarlets
Road Warriors: Glasgow, Leinster, Southern Kings

Group A sees Leinster, who are on track for their third GPro14 championship running, nearly two bonus-point victories in front, while much more interesting the race in Group B with the front four-of-seven XVs within a weekend happiness of one another; all on break until the end of this month;

By the Numbers:

                12           for travelers 10, Tommie Allan on four sticksplitters from the floor, the last in the 78th minute to draw level Scarlets at 17s for each and every, before his oppo, Dan Jones,  nailed an 81st minute strike truly and 20 - 17 the Welsh joy over Treviso after that; 10 in the Jones account on 2-and-2 off his shoe, too;

                14           for Cardiff 10, Jarrod Evans, on 1-and-4 struck from the floor and Blues made a 17-14 midpoint lead a 30 - 17 record over traveling Cheetahs;

                5              in the 64th minute for the go-ahead try by Munster flyer, Andrew Conway, converted by relief 10, Tyler Bleyendaal, for 22 - 16 victory over traveling Ulster at Thomond Park;

                11           for traveling Southern Kings 15, Scott van Breda, on 1-and-3 from his tee and Monarchs broke into the win column in stunning fashion, making a 13-nil halftime lead a 16 - 14 final score over host Ospreys;

                1              brace of touch downs for Glasgow 9, George Horne, in aid of the Warriors bonus-point, happy road show and 31 - 7 that final past Zebre at Sergio Lanfranchi;

                20           points in a brace of first forty suspenders from Leinster frontrowmen, Ronan Kelleher and Andrew Porter, and the Irish Province went on to top their Brethren from the West, Connacht, at the Sportsground, 42 - 11;

                10           nil for Edinburgh after forty and 20 - 7 the final at Murrayfield over Dragons;                             

Top 14: 
Top 14 Wrap - Round 9

Home Happy: Bordeaux, Castres, Lyon, Toulouse
Road Warriors: Pau, Racing
Sis-Kiss: Montpellier, Toulon

Pau supplanted Bayonne in third position at table, rising from seventh in that action, while Bayonne dropped to fourth on their second loss in succession; in the Battle of the Basement, 92 formatted Stade at the Jean Bouin.

On the Weekend, By the Numbers:

3              trys for Racing flyer, Teddy Thomas, early then mid-match and also late at ’79, led 92 over Stade Français in Paris, 25 - 9;  3 Nico Sanchez sticksplitters the only count for homeys;

18           for Lyon 10, Jonathan Wisniewski, on 3-and-4 from the floor, aided by a brace of groundings by his halfback partner, Baptiste Couilloud, and the frontrunners have opened a bonus-point lead at the topspot after 45 - 17 throttling of La Rochelle at Stade Gerland, knocking  La Rochelais from the playoff frame for the moment;

14           for Toulouse 15, Tommie Ramos, on 4-and-2 struck from his shoe and home XV leveled their guests, Clermont, at the Ernest Wallon, 34 - 8;

3              sticksplitters for 22 years old Section Paloise 10, Antoine Hastoy, against a lone penalty notched by Bayonne 12, Romi Barthelemy, and 9 - 3 the result of that arm wrestle in Stade du Hameau;

6              nil at the half made 23 - 0 by ’80 and Bordeaux kept close on the table leader’s hind after their stymying of Agen;

13           point halftime advantage, 22-9, for Castres nearly lost after a second stanza return by Brive fairly undid the home team, but a sticksplitter in extra time by Julien Dumora made a 25-26 deficit 28 - 26 victory;

3              points in the 75th minute by Adrienne Belleau made for drawn scores at Felix Mayol and Toulon came back to tag Montpellier  at 19s in front of their faithful;

Upcomes Round 10: though it’ll happen post-Thanksgiving, thanks to EPCR!
                Saturday, 11.30:

                                Racing 92 (18) v (30) Bordeaux Bègles at La Défense: home team, with international players returned, far more formidable than before; this could very well be an early season solidification for the winner;

                                Clermont (20) v (16) Agen at Marcel Michelin: this result may not be as close as the points may indicate;

                                La Rochelle (18) v (18) Castres at Stade Marcel Deflandre: homeboys recently removed from playoffs picture will want to renounce that direction, while cagey travelers may surprise and that is why this is... Match-of-Weekend;

                                 Section Paloise (21) v (20) Toulon at Stade du Hameau: home side look to make it two in a row at Stade du Hameau, however, sister-kissing Toulon have a different outcome in mind; other M-o-W;

                                Toulouse (19) v (21) Bayonne at Ernest Wallon: see what travelers take on the road with them to la Ville Rose, but homeys are flexing muscularly right now;

                Sunday, 12.1:
                                Montpellier (19) v (35) Lyon at the Altrad: could be a stumble for the hot, high-stepping frontrunner in La Surdouée where Aaron Cruden and company may have a surprise gift in store their guests;

                                Brive (18) v (9) Stade Français at Stade Amédée Domenech: visitors in the deepest, darkest part of the cellar and it doesn’t appear they’ll find their way clear anytime soon; hosts are drawn on points with the other basement dweller, Agen, and can take this opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the relegation stations.




Sunday, November 10, 2019

Friendly: Queen City tops Colorado Springs, awe-inspiring CSOBs

City's blindside flanker, Kyle Hilyard, breaks the defense to ground in the corner 

In a super-seasonal fixture that has no bearing on the numerics of RMR's Men's Division-3 table, but may go a bit for bragging rights over the long-cold, Queen City Rams hosted and toasted league-leading Colorado Springs Grizzlies, 39 - 34, on the StoveTop at Infinity. The Bear had walloped City a good one in their opening league action early in September and Rams looked to return in kind on this RugbyDay. 

Grizzlies went ahead on a 9th-minute corner try by their wing after multiple phases interspersing pick-and-goes with near channel smashes made for swift cycling to the three-quarters who touched down the opener for a 5-nil advantage just then.

Rams claimed the lead when speedy realignment in the backline made for a well-exploited overlap that freed Kyle Nachbar to try for conversion by flyhalf, Nick Prudhomme, and City in front, 7-5 at '15.

Colorado Springs returned to lead, 12-7, in the 20th on a crashover try and the additional deuce by their own standoff.  

A missed, makeable Grizzlies shot on goal at minute 25 presaged coming events and Rams made a trio of scores in the last 10 minutes of the first forty to take a 24-12 scoreline to the sheds at referee Brian Kelly's halftime signal. 

Springs got one back in the 51st for tallies of 24 and 17, but City extended the margin to 19 with a pair of groundings and 36-17 by the hour mark.

Grizzlies would touchdown a further triple, but only convert one of those trys, while City got a sticksplitter at the death for the result, 39 - 34.

Shock and awesome inspiration of the CSOBs

While on the rugby grounds at the rambling expanse of the Stenger Sports Complex in Arvada, site of 2020 Golden Oldies Rugby Festival, Colorado Select Old Boys, continued their pre-season form that for some started in the 1960s... 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Rugby Colorado High School Girls Championships

RC High School Girls State Championships are on the next two weekends: Sunday, November 10, opening round action begins at 11am at Gerry Berry Stadium in Colorado Springs, while on Sunday, November 17, play moves north to Littleton Public Schools Stadium for the conclusion of 2019 High School Girls Rugby Best in State.

Perennial powerhouse, Summit County, is this season's top seed and they'll be sternly tested by close chasers, Monarch HS and the Valley Valkyries from the Land of the Roaring Fork. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Europe Professional Leagues - On the Weekend: BtN

Europe plus 2 from South Africa - all three professional leagues are on this weekend for the first time this season. 20 fixtures in 5 countries with teams from 2 continents!

Gallagher Premiership Round 3 Wrap

12 teams, all in England; 22-match, home-away schedule

Home Happy: Bristol, Leicester, Northampton, Saracens, Wasps
Road Warriors: Exeter

Saints yet in the ordering spot at table, while Bears gained second after success on the weekend.

By the Numbers:

                12           for 21 years old Saints 10, Jimmie Grayson, on 3-and-2 from the shoe, aided by a brace from 11, Taqi Naiyaravoro, and Northampton stayed in first with 5-point, 40 - 22 victory over visiting Harlequins; brace of groundings for 20 years old Quins three-quarters, Cadan Murley;

                11           from Leicester 20 years old 12, Tom Hardwick, on 1-and-3 from the tee, including a 79th minute sticksplitter that provided the margin of victory at 16 - 13 over Gloucester, and travelers slid from 2nd to 3rd on the schedule;

                             in the 80th minute on a sticksplitter from Saracens 19 years old 10, Manu Vunipola, made the difference and Sarries got the 16 - 13 win over promotee London Irish; and the frightening number is that which was missing... 9 England players who will return to Saracens soon with something to prove, one might think;

                17           for travelers 10, Rhys Priestland on 1-and-5 splitters not enough as 15 from Wasps 10, Lima Sopoaga, on 3-and-3 off his tee and homeboys got the four-pointer denying Bath a losing bonus-point in the 30 - 22 happy; with the loss, visitors dropped into the cellar of the Premiership, its lone relegation station;

                11           from Bristol 10, Callam Sheedy, on 1-and-3 from his tee sufficient for victory and 16 - 10 the result as Sale lost on the trot, but got the losing b-p in the return of USA Eagles and Sharks 10, AJ MacGinty;

                5              from traveling 3, Harry Williams, in the 74th, made 7 by Exeter 10, Joe Simmonds, and Chiefs the lone Road Excellence this round after the comeback, 24 - 20, win over Worcester Warriors;

upcoming Round 4: it’ll be lively as you like with each contest providing movement in the standings

                Friday, 11.8:

                                Sale Sharks (7) v (5) Wasps at Salford City Stadium: numbers six and seven on the table for the placement sorting;

                Saturday, 11.9:

                                Bath (4) v (14) Northampton Saints at the Recreation Ground: cellar v topboy, recipe for heady disaster, methinks; though there are every fixture a clash of close placements, this could be the tightest result on the day;

                                Gloucester (10) v (9) Saracens at Kingsholm: #3 v #4... YES;

                                Harlequins (5) v (5) Worcester Warriors at Twickenham: #8 v #9... YES;

                                London Irish (5) v (4) Leicester Tigers at Madejski Stadium: #11 v #12... YES-YES;

                                Exeter Chiefs (9) v (10) Bristol Bears at Sandy Park: yet another battle the outcome of which will scramble the table seating chart;

Guinness Pro14 Round 5 Wrap
14 teams, 2 conferences in 4 countries on 2 continents playing home-away within the conference, non-conference teams once, plus 2 additional games for a 21-match schedule
Home Happy: Glasgow, Leinster, Scarlets, Treviso, Ulster;
Road Warriors: Connacht, Munster

By the Numbers:

                13           for the entire shop at the midpoint before Munster broke open the tight contest with a 20 second stanza count to record 33 - 23 joy over hosts, Cardiff Blues at Thomond Park; brace of groundings for travelers 9, Alby Mathewson in the happy that kept homeside in first place, but only just, because...

                10           for Connacht 10, Conor Fitzgerald, on 2-and-2 in the 20 - 10 road victory over Ospreys at Liberty Stadium;

                2              point halftime margin, 15-13, with Treviso leading, made a 2-point victory after each only managed a sticksplitter after intermission and 18 - 16 Benetton’s win over Edinburgh;  

                 7            the difference at half, 14-7, for Scarlets, who held onto advantage though only by a bit and 17 - 14 the final over visiting Cheetahs;

                8              try Glasgow pounded out the 50 - nil win at Scotstoun over Southern Kings; 2 yellow cards no help for travelers;

                8              trys, too, for reigning champs, Leinster, in 50 - 15 victory over Dragons at the RDS; suspenders for three-quarters, Dave Kearney and 20 years old Hugh O’Sullivan, for homeboys;

                3              points the halftime margin broken out by Ulster with a 12-point second stanza against a 3-point reply from Zebre and 22 - 10 the Irish joy;

 from last round played:
Top 14 Wrap - Round 8 - plus Guess who’s Returned?

Home Happy: Agen, Brive, Clermont, La Rochelle, Toulon, Montpellier, Pau
Road Warriors: 0

On the Weekend, By the Numbers, and “Guess who’s back from battle in the East?”

Top three lost, next seven won, and the bottom four lost; the, 2 clubs from the capital are in the dropseats right now.

21           for Clermont 10, Jake McIntyre on 7 sticksplitters against 15 for everyone else and badboy Lyon suffered its first defeat of the season 15 - 21, though they’ve yet managed to stay in ordering seat at table;

             penalty goals for La Rochelle and only 2 for 92 made for the 12 - 6 record;

2              groundings for Colombian lock, Andrés Zafra, aided the 27 - 14 victory for Agen over Stade Français;    

9              minutes is all it took for Bordeaux to earn a red ticket and thereafter things went awry enabling Brive to rise from relegation station after completing 30 - 9 victory, and second-placed Bégles made no gain on losing Lyon;

11           the margin after ’80 as Toulon defended the Felix Mayol with a 20 - 9 win over Bayonne;

17           for Pau 10, Antoine Hastoy, on 4-and-3 from the tee and a brace for #2, Quentin Lespiaucq-Brettes, as home team beat Castres  at Stade du Hameau, 37 - 24; 14 for traveling 10, Julien Dumora, on a 3-1-1 triple in defeat;

15           on account for Montpellier three-quarters, Anthony Bouthier, on 3-and-3 off his tee along with a double by 14, Gabriel Ngandebe, assisted the 33 - 22 joy past Toulouse as the giants battled;  

Come back, Jacques! - the clubs in their current sequence and who they may have been missing for the past coupla months; they who’ll be T14-ready come the resumption of play post-RWC Final Fixture:

Lyon (3): Felix Lambey (lock-France); Josua Tuisova (wing-Fiji); Pierre-Louis Barassi (center-France);
Bordeaux Bègles (6) : Jefferson Poirot (prop-France); Peni Ravai (prop-Fiji); Tevita Ratuva (lock-Fiji); Semi Radradra (center-Fiji); UJ Seuteni (flyhalf-Samoa); Beka Gorgadze (backrow-Georgia);
Bayonne (1): Mali Hingano (center-Tonga);
Clermont (9): Damian Penaud (wing-France); Alivereti Raka (wing-France); Camille Lopez (flyhalf-France); Arthur Iturria (backrow-France); Séba Vahaamahina (prop-France); Rabah Slimani (prop-France); Peceli Yato (backrow-Fiji); Greig Laidlaw (halfback-Scotland); Tim Nanai-Williams (fullback-Samoa)
Toulon (7): Chris Tolofua (hooker-France); Emerick Setiano (prop-France); Charles Ollivon, (backrow-France); Baptiste Serin (scrumhalf-France); Sergio Parisse (8man-Italy); Beka Gigashvili (prop-Georgia); Mamuka Gorgodze (lock-Georgia);
La Rochelle (4):  Vincent Rattez (wing-France); Gregory Alldritt (backrow-France); Kini Murimurivalu (fullback-Fiji); Levani Botia (center-Fiji);
Montpellier (7): Guilhem Guirado (hooker-France); Yacouba Camara (backrow-France); Louis Picamoles (8man-France); Levan Chilachava (prop-Georgia); Mikheil Nariashvili (prop-Georgia); Gela Aprasidze (scrumhalf-Georgia); Francois Steyn (center-South Africa);
Pau (3): Jale Vatubua (center-Fiji); Dominiko Waqaniburotu (backrow-Fiji);  Siegfried Fisi'ihoi (prop-Tonga);
Brive (4):  Otar Giorgadze (backrow-Georgia); Vano Karkadze (prop-Georgia); Vasil Lobzhanidze (scrumhalf-Georgia); Tedo Abzhandadze (flyhalf-Georgia);
Agen (1): Paul Ngauamo (hooker-Tonga);
Toulouse (7): Cyril Baille (prop-France); Antoine Dupont (scrumhalf-France); Romi Ntamack (flyhalf-France); Sofiane Guitoune (wing-France); Yoann Huget (wing-France); Maxi Medard (fullback-France); Ches Kolbe (wing-South Africa);
Castres (3): Maama Vaipulu (backrow-Tonga); Filipo Nakosi (wing-Fiji); Ben Urdapilleta (flyhalf-Argentina);
Racing 92 (10): Camille Chat (hooker-France); Sedate Gomes Sa (prop-France); Wenceslas Lauret (backrow-France); Bernard Le Roux (backrow-France); Max Machenaud (scrumhalf-France); Virimi Vakatawa (center-France); Finn Russell (flyhalf-Scotland); Guram Gogichashvili (prop-Georgia); Ben Tameifuna (prop-Tonga); Leone Nakarawa (lock-Fiji);
Stade Français (7): Paul Gabrillagues (lock-France); Gaël Fickou (center-France); Giorgi Melikidze (prop-Georgia); Waisea Nayacalevu (wing-Fiji); Paul Alo-Emile (prop-Samoa); Pablo Matera (backrow-Argentina); Nico Sanchez (flyhalf-Argentina)

Upcomes Round 9:
                Saturday, 11.9:
                                Toulon (18) v (17) Montpellier at Felix Mayol: each will have seven returned from international duty in this crucial mid-table clash;

                                Bayonne (21) v (17) Section Paloise at Stade Jean Dauger: homeboys need the win here;

                                Bordeaux Bègles (26) v (16) Agen at Chaban-Delmas: could be the bonus-point for Bègles;

                                Castres (14) v (17) Brive at Pierre-Fabre: should be a good lower-table tussle:

                                 Toulouse (20) v (14) Clermont at Ernest Wallon: tale of this tape may be whose internationals have returned to the roster in form;
                Sunday, 11.10:
                                 Stade Français (9) v (13) Racing 92 at the Jean Bouin: look to see differently-complected sides this time out and one to rise from their current relegation station;
                                Lyon (30) v (18) La Rochelle at Stade Gerland: homeboys’ll look for five here, but La Rochelais, who just managed to obtain the last playoff spot last weekend, will want to remain there;



WPL Finals

Women’s Premier League Championship
Glendale Merlins lost in WPL championship the past three years and this season faced newcomer, Life West Gladiatrix, in the title game. Merlins opened their season with a loss to the Glads in August at home, then reversed that outcome with two-point victory in Oakland third weekend in September. 

Both won their semifinals: Glendale comfortably over Atlanta Harlequins and Life West only-just past New York Rugby last Friday. In a best two-from-three scenario Glendale prevailed in the final, defeating Gladiatrix 39-31 to claim their first WPL Championship since 2015.