|Mosese Ratuvou scored for Lyon against Pau in France's Pro D2 competition. |
Lyon struggled, but secured a precious victory against Pau, thanks to Mosese Ratuvou's try, allowing them to take a three point advantage over Grenoble on the Pro D2 table with one round remaining.
A win at already relegated St. Etienne will guarantee Lyon that automatic promotion place, but perhaps the expectations of a Top 14 place are beginning to tell. If so, it's something Lyon will need to get used to next season (should they get promoted) - the increased intensity of competition within the Top 14 brings along with it an increase in pressure to win games.
Ratuvou could actually have had a second, but for a foot in touch as he crossed the try-line.
The Lyon-St. Etienne game will be a derby fixture with 20,000 spectators anticipated.
Grenoble kept up their chances of a direct ascent, should Lyon slip up, with a win over Dax, who gained a precious bonus point in their struggle to 'stay up'. They rest equal on points with Vereniki Goneva's Colomiers, who also picked up a point in the defeat at Narbonne. The latter ensured their place in Pro D2, except for the threat of financial relegation, being 1.2 million Euros in the red.
Jone Tawake was outstanding for Narbonne, confirming why he will be playing for Toulon next season. Sionasa Vunisa helped himself to a try, his sixth of the season.
Despite the efforts of Alusio Buto, and his try, Auch failed to make the play-offs, after Mont de Marsan's victory away to Aurillac, for whom Dan Baleinadogo was on the score-sheet. 'The Lethal Weapon', Timoci Matanavou as he is now known, notched up his '17th'.
Before the season closes, a mention to those Fijians not already featured in previous articles playing in Pro D2, all of whom have contributed to their team's efforts, and added a little island magic to matches. Many thanks to Venione Voretamaya at Albi; Maya Viliame - Aurillac; Filimone Bolavucu of Dax, a try-scorer this week; Akuila Nawerecagi - Pau; and Isoa Domolailai at Tarbes.
In the next couple of weeks there will be a summary of the top Fijian performers in this division; tries, games played, stars etc. Likewise for the Top 14, where this weekend also sees the last set of matches before the play-offs. The big game features Montpellier against Toulon battling it out for a place - 'winner takes all'.
Finally this weekend only one Fijian will be in Cardiff looking for a European medal after last week's semi-final games in the Heineken Cup and Amlin Cup. Isa Nacewa will be looking to add to the one already won in 2009 with Leinster, after seeing off Toulouse and ASM Clermont with Kini Murimurivalu losing out to Stade Francais.
On the grapevine :
- Seru Rabeni to return to England after La Rochelle's relegation.
- Napolioni Nalaga to return to rugby in France with Stade Francais, where Byron Kelleher is destined to link up with Bernard Laporte (Ex French selector) who is taking over the reins again at another Top 14 club struggling financially.
Marc @ Rugbymarc.