French Top 14: Bordeaux Begles v Lyon Preview

The Bordeaux Begles and Lyon will be looking to break into the Top 14 play-off positions when they square off on Saturday the 6th of January.

This weekend could prove rather pivotal for all of the Top 14 sides with the fast approaching two-week European break and then the start of the 2018 Six Nations set to test squad depth. Two teams who could certainly use a heading into the aforementioned two-week Top 14 sabbatical are Bordeaux and Lyon.

Both sides find themselves just outside of the playoff places. A win in this Saturday's opening fixture could see them move into the much-coveted top 6 and put pressure on the teams above them, who will still have their 80-minute assignments to contend with.

Bordeaux Begles v Lyon Rugby | Saturday 6 January |  Stade Chaban-Delmas | 15:45 

To Win (80 Mins)
Bordeaux 7/20 | Draw 19/1 | Lyon 43/20

Bordeaux Begles
The Begles patchy domestic form continued last weekend as they went down 22-10 away to Toulouse. The result wasn't an unexpected one, although a lot of pundits were expecting a much narrower winning margin as Bordeaux have become extremely good at picking up losing bonus points.

Last week's defeat has seen the Begles slip down to eighth place on the Top 14 standings. They only sit four points behind fifth-place Toulon, however, so a win here could well see them move back into the playoff spots.

The above scenario occurring is an unlikely possibility as while Lyon will be on a massive high after beating Pau last weekend, they are rather poor travellers. On top of this, Bordeaux have a solid home record winning four of their last five matches on home soil. This winning streak also includes a  victory over Toulon (30-27) and a dismantling of Montpellier (47-17).

Lyon Rugby
The Wolves finally arrested their horrific run of results by beating Pau 35-23 last weekend. The result ended Lyon's five-game losing streak and saw them climb to seventh on the Top 14 standings, level on points with fifth-placed Toulon and sixth-placed Toulouse.

It would be amiss of me to just briefly touch on Lyon's victory over Pau as Lyon really did put in a solid shift. Having lost a man to a red card just prior to the half-time break many were expecting the Wolves to crumble in the second stanza. Matthieu Lazerges' charges were having none of that however and only lost the second half by two points.

A special mention must also be made of Lyon ten, Lionel Beauxis. The pivot scored 18 of Lyon's points and was stellar on defence. If I was a member of the Wolves brain trust I would certainly be pondering a 9/10 combination featuring Michalk and Beaxius. The two French internationals have basically been left to battle it out for the 10 jersey this year. Perhaps, moving Michalak one-in would give Lyon something more with ball-in-hand? It sure would up the number of caps in the starting line-up.

Verdict: Bordeaux 7/20 
Lyon haven't won a game on the road since they beat Agen at the start of October, and I cannot foresee that run coming especially against a Bordeaux Begles side that has a handy home record. 

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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