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Melhor Time
06-08-09, 02:05 AM
The big signings are in France ready for the new season, starting next week. The biggest names from England and Scotland will be arriving as will test stars from the likes of Tonga, Japan, South Africa, Argentina and New Zealand.

The best recruiters are clearly Toulon and SF Paris. Ridiculously good players arriving in hig quantities.

The most significant transfers are:

Albi - Borges (Dax)

Bayonne - Filipo (Crusaders), Williams (Dax) and Perugini (Toulouse)

Biarritz Olympique - Erinle (Leicester), Balshaw (Gloucester), Alexandre (Clermont)

Bourgoin - J.Senio (Castres)

Brive - Flutey (Wasps), Noon (Newcastle), Waqaceduadua (Waikato Chiefs) and Perry (Bristol) - Ribes (Toulon)

Castres Olympique - Diarra (Montauban)

Clermont Auvergne - Parra (Bourgoin) - Lavea (Auckland Blues) - White (Sale) - K.Senio (Castres) - Faure (Sale) - Fourie (Golden Lions)

Montpellier - Thiery (Biarritz) - Figallo (Argentina)

Montauban - Campos (Argentina), Henderson (Scotland)

USA Perpignan - nobody

Racing Metro 92 - Nallet (Castres, Chabal (Sale), Steyn (Sharks), Orlandi (Rovigo), Cronje (Biarritz), Masi (Biarritz) and Taione (Harlequins)

Stade Français - Gerber (Bulls) - Kayser (Leicester) - Haskell (Wasps) - Palmer (Wasps) - Southwell (Edimbourg), Dupuy (Leicester)

RC Toulon - Bruno (Sale), Mignoni (Clermont), Contepomi (Leinster), J.M. Fernandez-Lobbe (Sale), R. Lamont (Sale), Wilkinson (Newcastle), J. Robinson (Cardiff), May (Newcastle), Loamanu (Saitama, Japan)

Toulouse - David (Bourgoin) - Picamoles (Montpellier)

Perhaps the departure of Hernandez to South Africa is bigger than all. The new arrivals will need to learn French quickly. Southwell is probably the best signing as they have struggled with Corleto injured for the entire last season. Beauxis at 10 will make the French happy. Haskell's arrival suggests Simon Taylor is not being considered for the back row. So the Paris second row will have Pape, Taylor and Palmer.

I am personally very interested in seeing Diarra play for Castres. He is such an awesome prospect for France.

Lote Tuqiri to play for Bayonne with Craig Gower?

The LNR have changed the law about where to play games. So for the first time ever clubs can move their games outside of France if they want to. So already confirmed are Biarritz to host SF Paris and Bayonne in San Sebastian, Spain. Perpignan are likely to host Toulouse in Barcelona too and SF Paris are looking at hosting a game in Belgium in addition to hosting 5 matches at Stade de France. Bourgoin are keen on playing in Geneva, Switzerland and will hsot Perpignan in Grenoble. Wonderful news this. Sad about the Madonna concert ruining the Stade Velodrome which has cancelled the 60,000 crowd for Toulon vs MR Paris.

M Two One
08-08-09, 02:50 AM
Nice preview there Melhor Time. I'm definitely excited some of the teams hosting in larger stadiums. I'll definitely have to go to a Biarritz match this season when they play in San Sebastian-Donostia.

erwanseb
10-08-09, 04:05 PM
Apparently, the economic crisis has little effect (so far) on top 14 club budget.

A minimum and balanced budget is required to enter the top 14 (otherwise, it is a one way ticket to pro d2). The clubs have registered their budget to the financial commission with different accounting standards (as some clubs have already included expected revenues from HC while some others like Toulouse have not).

In bracket is the difference (mostly increase ) from last year. Surprisingly, Perpignan is only ranked 8th. Toulouse is likely be first at the end of the season when HC revenues are included.

The total turnover is close to 200 million euros and thats is a pretty good piece of news as club can continue to sustain a growing number of jobs (although some big names like Jeanjean or Dridi are currently unemployed).

One must keep in mind that some big names can have specific contract with direct payment from big sponsors, hence some big salaries may not be included in the club turnover (that's was partially the case of Carter last year I believe).

Overall , with 200 million euros turnover, the top 14 remain a bright spot for would be professional player.
On the sporting side, I am loking forwar to first games of a few players : Wilkinson who seems to have found a second youth, Steyn, Picamoles and David at Toulouse, Parra at Clermont,...

The Toulouse back row is simply unbelievable with Dussautoir, Sowerby, Picamoles, Nyanga , Bouihlou and Maka but so is their second row with Albacete and Millo Chluski

Stade Français : 21 M Eur (+ 3 M Eur)
Clermont : 18,9 M Eur (+ 1,9 M Eur)
Toulouse : 17 M Eur (=)
Toulon : 16,5 M Eur (+ 2,5 M Eur)
Brive : 16 M Eur (+ 3 M Eur)
Racing Métro 92 : 16 M Eur
Biarritz : 14 M Eur (+ 0,5 M Eur)
Perpignan : 13 M Eur (+ 1 M Eur)
Montpellier : 12,8 M Eur (+ 1,3 M Eur)
Bayonne : 12 M Eur (+ 0,5 M Eur)
Castres : 11 M Eur (=)
Montauban : 10,2 M Eur (+0,7 M Eur)
Bourgoin : 10 M Eur (+ 0,2 M Eur)
Albi : 8 M Eur

O'Rothlain
10-08-09, 07:05 PM
I'm very curious to see Racing Metro Paris. Promotion + Massive Signings (Chabal, I need say no more)!

DonBilly
11-08-09, 05:58 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (O&#39;Rothlain @ Aug 10 2009, 09:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=407981')</div>
I&#39;m very curious to see Racing Metro Paris. Promotion + Massive Signings (Chabal, I need say no more)![/b]

They play versus Albi in the first round of Top14 that starts on Friday with RC Toulon versus Stade Francais. Racing will play on Saturday afternoon but without their Test players (so no Chabal) since there must be a break of at least 8 weeks between their last June Test and their first Top14 match.

Melhor Time
14-08-09, 12:25 PM
To Codorniou

I agree, Toulouse have a ridiculously good backrow but what about the SF Paris backrow? Leguizamon, Parisse, Taylor, Rabadan, Mauro Bergamasco and Haskell! With Palmer, Pape and Taylor there they may have a good lineout after the being so poor last season.

Thanks for the economic figures.
----

To O&#39;Rothlain

I think its hard to predict. MR Paris may be very strong but thats what most thought of Toulon last season. I think they should be a midtable side. Some great signings beyond Chabal such as Nallet (France), Steyn (South Africa), Masi (Italy), Taione (Tonga) and Orlandi (Argentina). All current test players. Other great signings like Julien Saubade and Jacques Cronje, I think MR Paris should be a similar side to Brive last season.
----

Toulon could be title contenders this season alongside Clermont, Toulouse, SF Paris and champs Perpignan. Montpellier could be the surprize that Bayonne were last season. Biarritz, Brive and Bayonne will be stronger than last season and so the top 4 should change from what it has been over the past two seasons. The games this weekend are in some cases very hard to predict.

Italian and French internationals still in mandatory rest period which really hurts SF Paris. Perpignan, Toulouse and MR Paris should be impacted too. Great for their opponents.

Toulón vs Stade Français. - Toulon to win this due to the FFR and FIR demanding test players not play for now. Paris will play without Parisse, Mi Bergamasco, Ma Bergamasco, Beauxis, Dupuy, Marconnet, Szarewski and others like Taylor and Bastrenaud. 17 in total. Chances, perhaps, for Mieres, Gerber, Haskell, Palmer and Camara. Toulon should shut them down though. Toulon to win by 10 points.

Biarritz vs Castres - Biarritz at home to get a big win. Biarritz by 15.

Bourgoin vs Clermont - A tough game to pick as the stronger team is playing away and has some key players out injured. Nevertheless, Clermont should be too strong so I say they will win in the end by 7 points.

Montauban vs Toulouse - Toulouse of course. I&#39;ll say by 15.

Brive vs Montpellier - The home team by very little.

Perpignan vs Bayonne - The Catalans to win by 10 points.

Albi vs Metro Racing - No Nallet and no Francois Steyn works well for Albi. I want to see former Kiwi League player David Vaealeki in this game. Albi to win by less than 5 points.

O'Rothlain
14-08-09, 12:50 PM
Glad to get some Northern Hemisphere rugby back on. Hopefully I can find a way to watch some of these matches.

Mr.cyclopede
14-08-09, 06:50 PM
The first 3 points scored by Johnie Wilkinson for this season...good adaptation to the Toulon&#39;s Pilou Pilou !

erwanseb
16-08-09, 08:46 AM
Toulon 22-22 Stade Français
Biarritz 12-24 Castres
Bourgoin 28-37 Clermont
Montauban 16-17 Toulouse
Albi 13-19 Racing-Métro 92
Perpignan 28-20 Bayonne
Brive 30-9 Montpellier

Melhor Time
16-08-09, 05:56 PM
Round 1 is completed and it was very interesting. Wilkinson scoring 17 points on debut, inc a 40 metre dropgoal. Clearly a very good sign for Toulon. Juan Fernandez Lobbe was very good. he was exactly what Jerry Collins was not last season for them. The 22-22 result was fair. SF Paris have the worst flyhalf and most overrated inside centre in the world (Liebenburg). His kicking is beyond poor and Toulon got their try because of this. Juan Hernandez was drastically missed. The French should be happy that Beauxis can play 10 now.

Castres got a good win vs Biarritz, a big surprize. Montauban were very unlucky to lose to Toulouse. Brive dominanted Montpellier to win big and did not use Goode or Flutey. They look very strong. Bourgoin blew a win to lose to Clermont. Rougerie at 13 is brilliant and his two passes to put Nalaga in for tries shoudl be underlining him as an option there for France. Can Bastrenaud be trusted for 13? Or will he be allowed to play for France as he is yet to know whether he will get the 3 year ban or not. Albi were very strong and unlucky to lose to Metro Racing. MR have made the big signings but were not so impressive, esp vs the logical wodden spooners. Perpignan got a rough win over Bayonne. Missing French internationals did not help but I will be surprized if Perpignan top the table.

Good early signs - Castres. Brive, Toulon, Clermont

Should be an unpredictable season.

Melhor Time
21-08-09, 05:03 PM
Round 2 starting shortly in a new place: Spain

Salut Espange / Hello Spain.

Bayonne vs SF Paris to be the first ever Top 14 match played outside of France. Capacity of 32,000 and a fullhouse highly likely as last I heard the number of sold tickets was 30,000. The game will be interesting for a number of reasons, ther biggest, for me, being the internationals. The first ever time France vs Italy flyhalf battle of Beauxis vs Gower. Remy Martin to try to get back intot he French team by playing against England&#39;s Haskell. Hopefully Liebenburg is nowhere near the field. SF Paris to win by 3 points.

Clermont - Montauban should be a straight forward win for Clermont as Montauban continue to try to get clearance from their new imports. Clermont to win by 20 points. Brock James to kick lots of points and Rougerie, Canale and Nalaga to break the line repeatedly.

Toulouse - Brive Brive could surprize a few people here. They played well vs Montpellier, humiliating them really. Toulouse were poor vs Montauban and lucky to win. They do have internationals back but still I think this will be Brive&#39;s time to show how good they are. Brive to win by 3.

Montpellier - Perpignan The worst team from round 1 vs the chamsp from last season. Perpignan should win the local derby by a lot. Interesting to see ho Trinh-Duc does at centre vs Perpignan&#39;s French centre duo.

Biarritz - Albi The home team will be reinforced after being embarrased by Castres last week. This should be one way traffic with Biarritz showing their skills as a way of retaliating for the loss. Biarritz by 20. Great to see Ngwenya returning.

Toulon - Racing-Métro 92. Was meant to be at the Stade Velodrome in Marseilles but was not able to thanks to Madonna. Many are saying this will be a great game but I think Toulon should be too strong. The Paris based side do have some players back thatb did not feature vs Albi but Toulon have a phenomenal list of players. Toulon by 10 points.

Castres - Bourgoin The home team will be feeling very positive and should win. Castres will need to play smart though. I think they will win by 5 points.

Melhor Time
24-08-09, 08:23 PM
Interesting second round. Only two undefeated teams after a mere two games. So much for the Top14 being a competition made up of a first and a second division. Clermont and Toulouse getting big wins vs Montauban and Brive. Champs Perpignan going down to Montpellier was a pleasure to watch while the success of Bayonne vs Stade Francais in Spain was truely fantastic. A strong crowd but not full, yet the quality of rugby on show will, no doubt, attract more people next time. Strong crowds all around. The best Montpellier crowd I have seen in quite some time. Last season they were getting low crowds.

Bayonne 38-24 Stade Francais
Biarritz 39-6 Albi
Clermont 37-16 Montauban
Montpellier 18-12 Perpignan
Toulouse 38-0 Brive
Toulon 27-13 Metro Racing
Castres 29-9 Bourgoin

- Bayonne looked strong and their key players had good games.

- Stade Francais looked like they are missing Juan Martin Hernandez very much. Most of their French players were poor. Leguizamon and Haskell were good though. Dupuy did well too. Another shocking match from Liebenburg. The worst player in the Top 14.

- Biarritz had good performances from their test players. Traille and Iain Balshaw were impressive. Maybe Martin Johnson will be interested?

- Albi will battle hard to avoid relegation.

- Clermont looking strong. Rougerie at 13 in particular.

- Montauban needing their imports to get the clearance and fast.

- Montpellier surprizing me and many surely vs Perpignan. Trinh-Duc at 12 was a success.

- Perpignan making dumb errors, stupid penalties. They need a heavy loss to realize its a whole new season.

- Toulouse kicking ass vs Brive showing their dominance and without a flyhalf. How good are their centres and back three players? Ex Bourgoin player Yann David was amazing vs Brive. Now Toiulouse need to decide whether he plays 13 or Fritz does. Jauzion at 12 with Kunavore in support. Ridiculous options. Shame to see Medard getting injured. But Heymans and Poitrenaud are there to play 15 too so its good for other teams.

- Brive, for some unknown reason, are poor vs Toulouse always. Why? They were so good in the first match and should have competed well in this game. Some poor performances. A number of English players not meriting a place in the team.

- Toulon are looking well organized and smart. Not looking to win big just control play. Ideal having Wilko there to do just this. Great buys in the form of Fernandez Lobbe, Robinson and Lamont are already showing how much better Toulou will be this season.

- MR Paris looking okay but need time to sort out combinations. Still they are one win from two games which is better than plenty of others.

- Castres are surprizing me so far. Wins vs Biarritz and Bourgoin and good wins at that. A much better organized side than that from last season.

- Bourgoin looked poor again. Money troubles influencing the team? Time for some serious rugby.

Melhor Time
02-09-09, 08:15 PM
Some very interesting results and great games from rounds 3 and 4. Lessons for the powerhouses that resting players is not a good idea as the gap between the top teams and the rest has been imensely decreased. Stade Français Paris losing today, at home to bottom placed Montauban was a remarkable result. Of course they did not have Leguizamon, Parrise, Taylor and others. The team look like they are missing Juan Hernandez more and more.

Toulon equal top of the table now, with Toulouse, after defeating Clermont, quite remarkable. Johnny Wilkinson has played all the games and is in fine shape. Time for English fans to tune into the Top 14.

Castres missing two games because of Swune flew is going to give them problems latter in the season when they need to play extra games.

Bourgoin? Two good wins..

Biarritz two loses and angry people at the club. Great examples of the stregnth across the Top 14 to have Biarritz losing to Montpellier and Bourgoin.

Round 3:

<div align='center'>Montauban </div>
<div align='center'>Postergado</div><div align='center'>Castres</div><div align='center'>Brive </div>
<div align='center'>9-9</div><div align='center'>Clermont</div><div align='center'>Perpignan </div>
<div align='center'>17-15</div><div align='center'>Toulouse</div><div align='center'>Stade Francais </div>
<div align='center'>43-26</div><div align='center'>Montpellier</div><div align='center'>Racing Metro </div>
<div align='center'>18-9</div><div align='center'>Bayonne</div><div align='center'>Albi </div>
<div align='center'>9-15</div><div align='center'>Toulon</div><div align='center'>Bourgoin </div>
<div align='center'>22-17</div><div align='center'>Biarritz</div>

Round 4:

<div align='center'>Albi </div>
<div align='center'>Postergado</div><div align='center'>Castres</div><div align='center'>Toulon </div>
<div align='center'>26-21</div><div align='center'>Clermont</div><div align='center'>Toulouse </div>
<div align='center'>21-17</div><div align='center'>Bayonne</div><div align='center'>Bourgoin </div>
<div align='center'>17-13</div><div align='center'>Racing Metro </div><div align='center'>Stade Francais </div>
<div align='center'>35-40</div><div align='center'>Montauban </div><div align='center'>Perpignan </div>
<div align='center'>-</div><div align='center'>Brive</div><div align='center'>Montpellier </div>
<div align='center'>22-18</div><div align='center'>Biarritz</div>

erwanseb
23-09-09, 10:36 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Melhor Time @ Aug 14 2009, 07:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}> ('index.php?act=findpost&pid=408385')</div>
To Codorniou

I agree, Toulouse have a ridiculously good backrow but what about the SF Paris backrow? Leguizamon, Parisse, Taylor, Rabadan, Mauro Bergamasco and Haskell! With Palmer, Pape and Taylor there they may have a good lineout after the being so poor last season. [/b]

What about Toulon with Johann VAN NIEKERK / Juan Martin FERNANDEZ LOBBE / Joe EL ABD , probably the best backrow wo far which also explains why Wilko is performing well.

feicarsinn
23-09-09, 09:04 PM
Any chance something could be done about the tables at the top? Would like to be able to see how the French clubs are getting on without too much effort. ;)

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 07:21 AM
I thought the season only started today?
anyway still didn't figure out which game to watch.
Doubting between Biarritz v Montpellier, Brive v Metro or Perpignan v Clermont.

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 05:47 PM
Watching the Toulouse v Agen game, Toulouse are on a roll.
Next game Clermont v Perpignan

TRF_Olyy
13-08-10, 06:00 PM
Next game Clermont v Perpignan
Looking forward to that game!
Hope USAP can win

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 06:31 PM
Sorry mate, I'm cheering for ASM ;-)

The Toulouse - Agen game was quite good.
High expectations

TRF_Olyy
13-08-10, 06:33 PM
Saw the last 15 mins of it, wasn't bad at all

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 06:42 PM
Both teams brought very attractive rugby, lots of attacking, sometimes a bit to eager and losing the ball but a good start for the French season.

TRF_Olyy
13-08-10, 06:54 PM
Seen the last few minutes of the Racing Metro and am now on the Toulouse/Bayonne, very tense, its at 85mins, toulouse are 4pts behind and have a scrum on the Bay 5m

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 06:58 PM
Bayonne v Toulon was alos a good game. Toulon kept on trying till the last minute and it was a very close game. 26-22

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 06:59 PM
What did Racing Metro do, on the Canal + I receive in Belgium they didn't broadcast that game.

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 07:05 PM
First points Perpignan, after two penalties

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 07:16 PM
USAP being the better team, winning all line outs and ASM missing a chance to draw.

TRF_Olyy
13-08-10, 07:26 PM
What did Racing Metro do, on the Canal + I receive in Belgium they didn't broadcast that game.
They won 23 - 15, but it was 20 - 10 with about 10minutes to go,
Went a few minutes into overtime (finished about 85mins i think) - ended with a Metro penalty



The second missed penalty for James was a howler, only about 20m out, and only a few metres to the left,
0% kicking record for 2010/2011 doesn't sound good :p

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 07:31 PM
Nice kick by Perpignan

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 07:36 PM
First try for ASM, pity That kicker from Perpignan hit the post

TRF_Cymro
13-08-10, 07:39 PM
Its not fun when your posting on your own and no one is responding ... ;)

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 07:43 PM
Ok, first half played.

The beginning was very disappointing from an ASM point of view, Perpignan scoring 3/5 penalties and one kick, Clermont one try.
I expected a bit more of this game, also a pity that Lauaki isn't starting today.

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 07:44 PM
Sorry, but I'm babysitting on my parent's their house, and while watching the game on television I'm working on a file. Olvy as well is watching the game ;-)

Amobokoboko
13-08-10, 08:43 PM
Perpignan won it 21-13
Good game

Amobokoboko
20-08-10, 06:36 PM
Stade Francais -La rochelle 41-25 another victory for Stade .
Cool shirts :-)

Amobokoboko
20-08-10, 07:44 PM
Great game so fare but need to go a sleep so I can watch ITM tomorrow.
Toulon leading the game with 4 points