ESPN rugby expert Martin Gillingham is the lead commentator for the broadcaster's live coverage of the French rugby union league, Top 14. ESPN is also lead broadcaster of Aviva Premiership Rugby and shows archive matches and footage from each of the six Rugby World Cup tournaments to date on ESPN Classic.
On this side of the Channel the nation’s best players are packing off either for their summer holidays or international tours to the southern hemisphere. In France, meanwhile, the Top 14 is reaching its climax.
When the dust finally settles on this season and the merry-go-round of players and coaches in pursuit of new contracts grinds to a halt, I can think of at least two losers in that jobs shake-up who will be fully entitled to afford themselves a self-satisfied smile.
This is THE weekend of the Top 14 season when you can argue THE place to be is at any one of the seven venues. It’s the penultimate round of the league phase yet 13 of the 14 sides still have something to play for.
In the last few days Top 14 clubs have started to issue confirmations of who’s in and who’s out for the new season. And it’s proving an active market.
Many new signings, of course, fall into the “worst kept secrets” category. Montpellier, for example, came clean on Friday about their first seven new faces – Brive [...]
Four rounds of matches remain in the league phase and fingernails are getting nibbled. At the top, the reigning champions are leaking oil like a rusty Rover while, at the foot of the table, Basque bragging rights are a mere sideshow at this weekend’s derby game as big spenders Bayonne face the prospect of relegation.