With the Americas Rugby Championship done for another year it’s back to domestic rugby we look for this week’s selection. The Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro 12 had the week off but we had two divisions of French club rugby, the British & Irish Cup, the Anglo-Welsh Cup, and of course Super Rugby to keep us entertained. A big win from the Jaguares over the Lions gives the team a distinct Argentinean flavor.
1 – Eric Fry (Vannes) A solid hour’s worth of effort in the scrum against Aurillac at Stade de la Rabine. Crucial ruck clear-out saved possession and led directly to a try for Fred Hickes in the 26-15 victory.
2 – Agustín Creevy (Jaguares) Terrific performance from the skipper as the Jaguares dominated the Lions at Vélez Sarsfield. Huge shift in defense both tackling and winning two turnovers at the breakdown. Virtually perfect with his throwing and a willing ball carrier throughout.
3 – Francisco Gómez Kodela (Lyon) The cornerstone of a scrum that dominated Stade Français. Won a penalty try in the first half and popped up in the backline to deliver the final pass for Carl Fearns to score in the corner early in the second stanza.
4 – Jamie Cudmore (Oyonnax) An full 80-minute performance in the engine room for the Canadian legend. Led by example as his charges topped Narbonne 30-22 to retain their spot at the head of the Pro D2 table and in the hunt for promotion to the Top 14.
5 – Rodrigo Capó Ortega (Castres) Could not do enough to lead his victory but the captain can hold his head high after giving his all in the match against Pau. Repeatedly crashed over the gainline with ball in hand while putting in numerous tackles around the fringes.
6 – Pablo Matera (Jaguares) Brutalized defenders with ball in hand with his offloads putting teammates in behind the defensive line. Missed a couple tackles going for big hits but made up for it with a couple turnovers and several other stinging hits.
7 – Tomás Lezana (Jaguares) Offload back inside put Joaquín Tuculet away for the opening score inside 5 minutes. Accurate in defense and linked well in attack both as a strike runner and support player. An inconsequential yellow card late in the game was the only blemish on his record.
8 – Facundo Isa (Lyon) Packed down on the side of the scrum but we’ve slotted him into his favored position. Contributed several strong runs against Stade and combined with Fearns to give Lyon a devastating one-two punch in the back row.
9 – Gonzalo Bertranou (Jaguares) Calm and composed, he picked his spots to test the fringes but largely focused on his core role of distribution. Arguably his most mature performance to date in a Jaguares shirt.
10 – Nicolás Sánchez (Jaguares) Another fine afternoon directing traffic. Challenged the line and used his flat attack to put Ramiro Moyano and Jeronimo de la Fuente clean through the line. Goal kicking wasn’t quite top drawer but it was enough to see his team through comfortably.
11 – Axel Müller (Toulon) Two tries in the massacre at Stade Félix Mayol that saw Toulon put 82 points on the board against Bayonne. Offloads also created a pair of scores for Liam Gill and one for Bryan Habana as Müller ripped the Bayonne defense to shreds in a sensational performance.
12 – Jerónimo de la Fuente (Jaguares) Danced down the sideline to score from a flat pass via Sánchez. Caused problems all game with his hard line running and managed a handful of offloads to set off alarm bells in the Lions defense.
13 – Nicolás De Battista (Cornish Pirates) Bumped out one from his usual spot in the midfield to face Jersey at their home ground in St. Peter and didn’t let his team down. The Pirates were beaten comfortably but the Argentine’s defense saved them from what could have been a savage beating.
14 – Ramiro Moyano (Jaguares) Popped up on the opposite side of the field to take a short ball from Sánchez over the line. Seemed to fly past defenders at will and on five occasions burst clear through the Lions defense.
15 – Joaquín Tuculet (Jaguares) Wrestled his way through for the opening try after running a perfect inside support line off Lezana. Covered every blade of grass with both his kicking and counter-attack both rapier sharp.