Pumas star 'still learning'
TOP 14 REPORT: Racing 92 coach Laurent Travers said Argentina wing Emiliano Boffelli still needs to settle into life in France.
This comes despite scoring on his first start to send Racing 92 to the summit of the Top 14 with Friday’s 23-20 home win over Castres.
Boffelli crossed in the closing moments as his new side, champions in 2016, moved above La Rochelle and holders Toulouse.
Boffelli came off the bench in last weekend’s victory over Lyon for his debut for Travers’ men after joining in December, but they were without the injured Virimi Vakatawa, Kurtley Beale and Camille Chat, who watched from the stands.
“We see he’s very good under the high ball, he still needs to get the feeling and the language though,” Travers said.
“When you score a try it’s thanks to the set-piece, the forwards who win the ball, Maxime Machenaud who plays on the blindside, Dorian Laborde’s off-load. After that Emiliano finishes it off, it’s a collective effort,” he added.
The visitors’ coach Mauricio Reggiardo made six changes, all in the pack, from last Saturday’s hammering of Montpellier.
Both outfits were missing their France Six Nations contingents with Teddy Thomas and Bernard Le Roux absent for the home side and Anthony Jelonch unavailable for Reggiardo.
At the Paris La Defense Arena, the hosts led 13-3 after 20 minutes as Teddy Iribaren crossed and kicked a conversion and two penalties with Pumas flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta responding with an effort at the posts for the away side.
Iribaren added a third penalty before Fiji wing Filipo Nakosi crashed over from short range just in added time as Travers’ side were 16-13 up at the break.
Castres continued their dominance after the interval and after 15 minutes of pressure 21-year-old prop Wayan De Benedittis crossed for his second try in as many league starts before Urdapilleta converted to make it 20-16.
Boffelli put his outfit back in front with less than 10 minutes remaining as he claimed his first try since featuring for the Jaguares at the Bulls in the Super Rugby.
Substitute centre Dorian Laborde swivelled out of a tackle and fed Boffelli with a delicate off-load for the 31-time Test wing to finish unopposed in the corner.
The game finished on a low as former France flank Wenceslas Lauret was stretchered off with a suspected concussion but Travers said the back row forward was fine during the post-match press conference.
On Saturday, bottom of the table Agen host Montpellier looking to avoid a record 16th straight defeat to start a league season.
Toulouse and La Rochelle can leapfrog Racing as they face Lyon and Stade Francais respectively.
Toulon’s trip to Pau is set to go ahead despite their squad registering two positive Covid-19 tests on Friday.