French Top 14 Play-Offs: Toulouse v Castres Preview

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Toulouse and Castres will go head-to-head in the Top 14 play-offs on Saturday the 19th of  May.

The second of this weekend's Top 14 play-off fixtures will see Toulouse tackle Castres at the Stade Ernest Wallon. The hosts enjoyed a magnificent round-robin phase which saw them claim third spot on the standings. Castres also performed well during the regular season but a late drop in form saw them drop down the pecking order, with this weekend's visitors eventually finishing in sixth.

Toulouse v Castres

Saturday 19 May
Stade Ernest Wallon
16:15


To Win (80 Mins)
Toulouse 7/20
Draw 19/1
Castres 5/2


Toulouse
It's been a solid return to form for Toulouse who finished last season in 12th place. Ugo Mola has certainly turned things around this season with the former French international guiding his charges to 16 wins from regular season games.

Toulouse actually produced a rather attractive brand of rugby during the round-robin phase as they were one of only four teams to score more than 700 points. They were also rather decent on defence, as they conceded 595 points at an average of 22.8 points per game. While it's not a stat to write home about, it's not bad going considering how open the Top 14 has been this year.

Castres
This weekend's visitors only lost one more game than their opponents but their inability to claim three try winning margin bonus points saw them finish five points behind Toulouse.

Castres were far less free-scoring than Toulouse during the round-robin phase as they could only muster up 638 points at an average of 24.5 points per game. They were also more fragile on defence, conceding 624 at a previous average of 26 points per game.

Despite coming into this one as outsiders with the 'bookmakers', Castres may feel quietly confident. I mean, they did beat Toulouse 31-41 at this weekend's venue back in December and also registered a 28-23 victory over Toulouse on home soil last April.

Verdict: Castres 5/2
I think Castres may just hold the psychological edge here. They know how to beat Toulouse and my money is on them doing it for a third time this season. 

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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