Sunday, August 30, 2009
As always, all eyes are on the French Top 14 at the moment as the global interest for the tournament picks up once again, thanks in a large part to the big names that have joined this season.
The quality of rugby is high, as the influx of foreign players has added to an already impressive standard of play.
Bayonne met Stade Francais in Spain in front of 32 000, for the first ever Top 14 game on foreign soil. Six tries were scored, including one for English loose forwad James Haskell, and two for Bayonne wing Benjamin Fall.
Another Englishman, Iain Balshaw, featured prominently as Biarritz beat Albi convincingly 39-6. Balshaw scored his first points for his new club inside ten minutes, as he showed the kind of finishing that he's capable of when on top form.
Balshaw ended up with two tries, and played a significant part in one other.
Clermont hammered Montauban 37-16 as their form looks to be an ominous sign for all before them. Anthony Floch scored two tries, with captain Aurelien Rougerie scoring one of his own after a neat chip. Former Springbok pocket rocket Brent Russell scored after a 50m sprint and incredible pickup just before the line.
Toulouse were perhaps the most impressive though, as they tore apart Brive with their superb running game, wining the match 38-0.
Centre Yann David was sensational with his counter attacking play, setting up Maxime Medard and Cedric Heymans. Vincent Clerc crossed later after a Byron Kelleher break, and Remi Lamerat sealed off the win at the death after a pinpoint cross-kick from replacement fly-half Florian Fritz.
This is a more complete package of highlights than last week, so we hope you enjoy. The best of Round three's action will be shown in a few days time.
Top 14 Best Tries mix from Round 1
Community: Discuss the Top 14 on our forum