Monday, September 2, 2019

Top 14 Weekend WRap

Top, Orange, or French, 14

No matter how you call it, some - with the possible exception of everyone in England and the entire population south of the equator - call it the premier rugby 15s, union-code competition on the planet, and it’s just done its second round. It may warrant consideration that everyman you’ll see at 2019 Rugby World Cup plays in some professional club tournament around the globe and the French league is abso one of the best, if not... Take a looksee... By the Numbers:
- the country of France, within which the competition takes place, is a bit smaller than the Lone Star State of Texas;
                - though most of the clubs are in the south of the country... if one drew a line between La Rochelle, on the bulge of the Atlantic known as the Bay of Biscay, and Lyon in the east, all fourteen clubs in the competition - save for the brace in Paris, Stade Français and Racing, are either on that demarcator, like Clermont Auvergne, or below it, so say 12 of the best rugby clubs on the planet playing in an area a bit less than the area of the United State of Montana... hell, I’d move to Montana if it were the South of France!
                - and while the other NoHemi competitions are deferring their respective starts until pool play of 2019 RWC is done, the governing body of T14, LNR, are like, “non,” and so the T14, which annually play the greatest number of matches in any competition (26, home-away), have begun their competition as if there were no RWC ongoing and if fortunes are to be made from the youth on the clubs who fill-in for their RWC-playing mentors (one should think), well then, South of France in Summer/Fall 2019 is the time and place to be doing just that.
T14 on the Weekend, By the Numbers... bad cards galore
19           by traveling Clermont 10, Jake McIntyre, on 2 conversions and 5 penalties, against 14 for Bayonne 10, Romain Barthelemy, on a 3-1-1 triple of 3 conversions, 1 penalty and 1 try as visitors counted ten in the last 10 for the favorable outcome, 34-30;
3              yellows in the second stanza made for a bit of a fractious, Monte Carlo-esque affair at La Défense Arena in the French capital and Racing 92 the winner over Castres, by a scoreline of 23-14, though Castres got more cards (2) than their hosts (1) in the latter stages of the brawl match;
13           for La Rochelle 10, Brock James, on 2-and-3 from the tee at Stade Marcel Deflandre and a 48th minute penalty struck by the standoff provided the measure for victory though it was a close run thing at day’s end  with visiting Stade Français putting 12 points aboard in the last five minutes to make for the gasper on the Bay of Biscay, 28-26; a brace for travelers 15, Kylan Hamdaoui, in defeat;
4              table points for homeside, Agen, over recent promotee, Brive, in their 16-10 victory at the Stade Armandie;
19           for hotstepping, 20 years old 10, Matti Jalibert and 2 home wins running now for Bordeaux Bègles after dispatching Toulon at Stade Chaban-Delmas 34-12;  only 4 penalties by their own 20 years old 10, Lionel Carbonel, for Mourad’s Men in the loss that levels their season account just right now;
4              cards total at casino night in the Altrad as Montpellier were at 14 men by the 26th minute when their hooker got sat for good with homeys up, 17-3, over Section Paloise; a trio of yellows late: at ’65 and ’66 for Pau and ’67 for Montpellier had the numbers at lucky 13 for a seven-minute span; 11 for home 10, Aaron Cruden on 4-and-1 in the 43-22 win;
14           for Lyon 10, Jonathan Wisniewski, on 1-and-4 from the floor and reigning champs, Toulouse, dropped their second defeat of the young season, 12-23, a quartet of penalties struck by their own 10, Zach Holmes, the travelers only count;        


Saturday, 9.7:
                Castres (4) v (9) Bordeaux Bègles at Stade Pierre Fabre;
                Toulon (5) v (9) Lyon at the Felix Mayol;
                Montpellier (6) v (4) La Rochelle at the Altrad;
                Pau (4) v (4) Agen at Stade du Hameau;
                Stade Français (1) v (5) Bayonne at Stade Jean Bouin;

Sunday, 9.8:
                Brive (0) v (8) Clermont at Stade Amédée Domenech;
                Toulouse (1) v (4) Racing 92 at Stade Ernest Wallon;

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