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Out-of-work yet in-demand Fabien Galthie offered an interesting aside in a recent conversation. Cheap Dallas Mavericks Jerseys . The rugby is better in the Aviva Premiership than the Top 14, he proffered.A bold statement that, particularly from a man you might expect to extol the virtues of French rugby at every opportunity. Yet its a view that appears to have traction elsewhere in France.Last Fridays Midi Olympique, the French rugby newspaper, carried an advertisement filling the bottom third of its front page urging readers to make a date this weekend with SFR SPORT2 and Un Dimanche de Rugby. It wasnt punting Clermont Auvergne against Toulouse but rather Le Choc Anglais ...Saracens vs. Wasps.Suffice to say club rugby on this side of La Manche is commanding greater respect in France these days. For the first time in almost a decade the Premiership can boast to be the home of the European champions while Louis Picamoles move this season to Northampton and Christopher Tolofuas impending switch to the Champions Cup winners Saracens shows signs another trend is being reversed.But lets not get carried away and believe the broad and heavy footprint of the Top 14 and its guardian the Ligue Nationale de Rugby are under threat in their own land. The point is, though, that not everyone in France is happy with its own domestic product.Those having a moan include Mourad Boudjellal who stood but failed to topple the incumbent Paul Goze in last weeks elections for the LNR presidency. Not for the first time, the comic book millionaire is threatening to sell the club and walk away from the sport.In truth, the Toulon owner was resigned to defeat even before his failure to secure a place on the leagues steering committee left Goze to be re-elected unopposed. Yet despite having unanimous support within the coterie of club presidents, not everyone who holds influence in French rugby is comfortable with what even Goze confessed to have been his Soviet-style acclamation.Gozes first term in office has seen the French league grow in just about every way. His strategic plan released during the summer drew on statistics from the last decade. Television revenue? Up; Sponsorship? Up? Public awareness of rugby? Up. Match attendances? Up? TV viewing figures? Up. Performances of French clubs in Europe? Up.Yet no sooner had the season got into its stride than more contemporary and, therefore, pertinent numbers were revealing themselves. The most alarming of these involve the decline in crowd attendances.The most striking feature of televised matches hosted by either Montpellier or Toulouse has been of the stands and the swathes of unoccupied tip-up seats. Le Clasico, as the clashes involving Toulouse and Stade Francais are dubbed, attracted just 12,900 fans last month while Jake Whites Montpellier may well have won a European title in May but in recent weeks have twice failed to get 10,000 through the turnstiles for home games.Attendances for both Parisian teams have been a sore point for some time but things are getting worse at the new Stade Jean Bouin where average gates have dropped from 13,000 two seasons ago to 9,500. Saturdays Paris derby between the two most recent holders of the Bouclier de Brennus enticed just 11,465 to Colombes.There are, of course, exceptions with Bordeaux-Begles continuing to be the best supported club in both France and Europe. Clubs like Toulon (Marseilles Velodrome) and the London clubs (Twickenham / Wembley) have their average gates massaged by big stadium relocations but Bordeauxs numbers are consistent with an average home gate of 25,000.There is also rarely a vacant seat to be seen on matchdays at Clermont Auvergnes Stade Marcel Michelin or at the home of the leagues rising stars La Rochelle where the a guichet fermes (sold out) signs have been outside their 15,000-capacity Stade Marcel Deflandre all season.La Rochelle are second in the Top 14 having been passed on Sunday by Clermont who despite having just 13 players on the pitch at one point and with a set piece sent shockingly and frequently into a fast back-peddling reverse by a powerful Toulouse front five beat their Rouge et Noir rivals 29-25.The difference between the sides was the place-kicking of Morgan Parra who was on target with all seven attempts on Sunday and has missed just two of 35 kicks at goal all season. He should be Guy Novess first name on the team sheet for Frances next Test on November 12 against Samoa.France have seven representatives in this seasons Champions Cup though it would be wise to write off the prospects of two of them now. Castres will throw everything at whoever rocks up to the Stade Pierre Antoine but all too frequently field weakened sides on their travels. Even with the inspirational Christophe Urios now in charge you can expect them to be targeting the Top 14 as the priority. That said, Northampton are disadvantaged by a fixture rota which sees them travelling to Castres in round two.Like last year, Bordeaux-Begles have been drawn in the same pool as Clermont and Exeter. Raphael Ibanezs team have the capacity to spring a surprise and will be very difficult to beat at home. But dont expect them to progress. Clermont surely will.Toulon face defending champions Saracens but with Sale and Scarlets making up the pool the three-time former winners are expected to make it into the quarter-finals.Toulouse travel to Connacht this weekend with Wasps heading to the Ville Rose in round two. Ugo Mola will have been encouraged by his packs performance against Clermont. At the heart of it was Census Johnston who is no longer the only capable tight head in the squad and with him now getting sufficient rest has rediscovered his zest. If Toulouse can get a win in Galway then I reckon theyll make the final eight.That leaves Racing 92 and Montpellier. Racing are believed to be placing special emphasis on Europe this season. But theyll have to sharpen their act after some insipid performances this season. They were outplayed by Brive a fortnight ago and could, and perhaps should have, lost the Paris derby on Saturday. On the request of coach Laurent Travers, owner Jacky Lorenzetti has drafted in Patricio Noriega at short notice to knock a misfiring scrum into shape. If there is to be shock elimination in the pools I fancy it will Racing.Montpellier is a club in some disarray off the pitch with Jake White having been told he wont be welcome back next season. Even with an English speaker Vern Cotter lurking in the wings it does make you wonder how the foot soldiers in the 2007 World Cup winners Languedoc Boks feel about the club and their futures at it.My predictions? Clermont Auvergne and Montpellier (pool winners) and Toulon and Toulouse (runners-up) to go through to the quarter-finals. Cheap Swingman Mavericks Jerseys . -- Eastern Kentucky thrives off creating havoc for others. Cheap Mavericks Jerseys . -- Jonathan Drouin gave Halifax the boost it needed to edge host Sherbrooke Phoenix 3-2 in a shootout in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. http://www.cheapmavericksjerseys.com/ . There are some early surprises in the race for the Hart Trophy, but two of the contenders are the leagues biggest stars over the past decade. There are many more players in contention for the awards than just the three that Ive named, and a good or bad week can easily alter the landscape, but through the first 20 or so games of the NHL season, this is how the awards races look to me. TORONTO -- Sebastian Giovinco scored three goals and added an assist to break out of an eight-game scoring drought in Toronto FCs 4-1 victory over D.C. United 4-1 on Saturday night.The Italian star put in a show in front of 26,349 fans on a steamy night at BMO Field. Two goals came on free kicks 18 minutes apart in the first half, with the third coming in second-half stoppage time as he poked home Mark Blooms cross to up his goals total to 11 this season.Giovinco had not scored in league play in more than two months -- 70 days to be exact -- since scoring twice in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps on May 14.Marky Delgado also scored for Toronto (6-7-6)Jeffrey scored for D.C. United (5-7-7).IMPACT 5. UNION 1MONTREAL -- Didier Drogba broke out with a hat trick to lead the Montreal Impact to a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.The 38-year-old Ivorian striker hadnt scored since May 28. He returned last week after missing three games with a thigh injury.Ignacio Piatti returned after sitting out a one-game suspension to score a goal and add two assists. Recent signing Matteo Mancuso, who went in for Drogba in the 79th minute, added his first MLS goal.Montreal improved to 7-5-8.Chris Pontius scored for Philadelphia (8-7-6).GALAXY 2, TIMBERS 1PORTLAND, Ore. -- Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes scored in the opening 11 minutes and Los Angeles eat Portland to snaap the Timbers nine-game undefeated streak. Cheap Mavericks Jerseys Authentic. he Galaxy (3-8) have won fourth straight victory in Major League Soccer play.Zarek Valentin scored for Portland (7-7-8). The Timbers were stung when they lost veteran defender Nat Borchers to what appeared to be a left ankle injury late in the first half. Borchers was a key piece to the Timbers team that won the MLS Cup last season.The Timbers were already without defender Liam Ridgewell, who has a strained right calf and will also miss the MLS All-Star Game against Arsenal next week in San Jose.ORLANDO CITY 2, CREW 2, TIECOLUMBUS, Ohio -- Kevin Molino scored in the 65th minute and assisted on Cyle Larins goal in the 70th to help Orlando City tie Columbus.Orlando City (4-5-11) pulled within one when Kakas corner resulted in a loose ball scramble in front of the goal that Molino finally punched it in. Five minutes later, Molinos wide cross found Larin for a header from the top of the 6-yard box.Tony Tchani and Ola Kamara had first-half goals for Columbus (3-7-10).REVOLUTION 1, FIRE 0FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Je-Vaughn Watson scored on a header in the 85th minute to lift New England past Chicago.Bobby Shuttleworth earned his fifth shutout of the season for New England (6-7-6).Chicago dropped to 4-10-5. 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