Welp, it was bound to happen, wasn’t it? Toulon scored a boat load of tries (NINE = boat load). I think we can safely say that La Rochelle would like to forget that match.
With two weeks in the books, time for an updated look at our Power Rankings (Friendly reminder: these numbers are very preliminary and they will fluctuate wildly early in the season. Toulon will not get 130 points in the standings and La Rochelle won’t get a negative amount either – no matter how hard they are trying).
- Toulon (Previous rank: 1). See previously mentioned boat load of tries scored. We are now in a Post-Wilkinson era at Toulon and the fun has just started. Sure, La Rochelle are weak opposition, but this is what a title contender is supposed to do to weak opposition. Can’t fault Matt Giteau and the boys for playing rugby.
- Toulouse (Previous rank: 3). Big win against Castres on Friday was just what they needed. Could have put up more points had Toby Flood kicked better. Putting pressure on Toulon to keep pace.
- Clermont (Previous rank: 2). Could arguably stay at 2nd, as winning on road against Brive was exactly what I thought a title challenger like Clermont needed to do.
- Montpellier (Previous rank: 4). Bounce-back week. Got the win, even if it was tight.
- Stade Français (Previous rank: 6). Two weeks, two wins. Quietly getting points or are we overestimating how difficult it is to beat Castres and Lyon?
- Racing Metro (Previous rank: 5). I like Racing better than the Top 14 standings, Elo ratings, and Expected Points model right now. Am I wrong?
- Bordeaux Begles (Previous rank: 9). Two big wins on the trot, including against Racing Metro. I’m just not sure that a team with so many n0-names on its roster can stay near the top of the standings for long (Seriously, at the time of writing this, more than half of the current roster of Bordeaux had no English language Wikipedia page – hardly scientific, but a decent indicator).
- Brive (Previous rank: 8). Loss to Clermont doesn’t change much.
- Bayonne (Previous rank: 12). Big win over Oyonnax moves Bayonne up.
- Grenoble (Previous rank: 11). This week: close loss to Montpellier on the road. Last week: close loss to Clermont on the road. Next week: a home game (against Bordeaux)!
- Castres (Previous rank: 7). How wrong was my pre-season estimation of this club? Probably not as bad as it looks right now. They need to find a win or they are going to continue to drop.
- Lyon (Previous rank: 13). Positive: they kept it close in a loss to Stade Français. Negative: So did Castres.
- Oyonnax (Previous rank: 10). Lose by one point to Toulouse and then get blown out by Bayonne? I’m not even mad, I’m impressed.
- La Rochelle (Previous rank: 14). This will only get worse. After two away losses, La Rochelle finally get a home fixture. Too bad that they are hosting Toulouse.