French Top 14: Castres v Toulon Preview

Toulon will be looking to recover from their shock home defeat at the hands of Racing Metro when they take on Castres on Saturday the 25th of November.

Toulon's poor start to the 2017/18 Top 14 season reached a new low last week as they went down by 11 points at home to city rivals Racing Metro. The result has seen the mega-rich club drop to eighth on the log - 12 points off log-leaders, Montpellier. The French giants will be extremely keen to atone for last week's defeat but this will be easier said than done as they come up against a spirited Castres squad this Saturday.

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Castres v Toloun | Saturday 25 November | Stade Pierre-Fabre | 15:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Castres 9/20 | Draw 19/1 | Toulon 37/20

The hosts for this weekend's affair find themselves a place above their opponents despite operating on a much smaller budget. While they may not have near as much money as their opponents, they still have a host of experienced internationals to call upon including Samoan speedster, David Smith, who heads into this one in solid try-scoring form having grabbed a double during Castres magnificent 31-15 victory over La Rochelle last week.

Last week's victory was Castres fifth win of the season and their third in succession. They've been solid at home, winning four of their five matches, which includes a 29-23 victory over defending Top 14 champions, Clermont.

This season really is turning into a nightmare for Toulon who came into last week's Paris Derby off the back of a shock two-point defeat to relegation battlers Agen. Most fans and pundits were expecting a big response from Fabian Galthie's men. And while they did show moments of brilliance during their 40-29 defeat to Racing, they looked rather fractured on both attack and defence.

So where to now for this proud club? Well, they really need to go back to the basics and get their forwards to build a solid attacking platform rather than giving the ball to the outside backs after the first or second phase. Galthie also needs to find the right balance in both the loose trio and back three. He has some marvellous players to call upon in all of these positions but the Toulon mentor is yet to find two trios who are capable of complementing each other.

Verdict: Toulon 37/20
I know I tipped them last week and they came up well short, but I simply cannot help but have another crack on a Toulon win. There's quality team waiting to step out of this mire, and I think we may just get a glimpse of that side this Saturday. 

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