French Top 14: Lyon v La Rochelle Preview

High-flying Lyon will be looking to maintain their position on top of the Top 14 log when they take on La Rochelle this Saturday.

This season's surprise package Lyon, take on last season's overachievers, La Rochelle, at the Stade Ernst Wallon this Saturday. The hosts have been nothing short of sensational this term, racking up an astounding seven wins from eight fixtures. They do face a tough challenge this weekend, however, as La Rochelle have picked up from right where they left off last season - winning six of their opening eight matches.

So, which of these to overachievers will come out on top when they collide? Let's see if we can find out.

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Lyon v La Rochelle | Saturday 4 November | Stade Ernst Wallon | 15:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Lyon 11/20 | Draw 19/1 | La Rochelle 31/20

Les Loups - or The Wolves, for those not familiar with the French language - continued their marvellous start to the 2017/18 Top 14 campaign by registering a 52-18 victory over Oyonnax this past Saturday evening. The game was a tale of two halves with Oyonnax leading for the majority of the first stanza before Lyon got their act together and turned on the style to garner both a comfortable win and a try-scoring bonus point.

That was Lyon's seventh victory of the campaign - their only loss thus far came against Pau in early-September and while it was far from being the most notable, the Wolves did show that they are capable of putting in a display even if the opponents are a dogged outfit

Key to Lyon's blistering start to the campaign has been the form of fly-half Lionel Beauxius. The forgotten man of French rugby has been running the show for the Wolves, with his ability to take the ball to the line and offload at just the right moment enabling the burly Lyon centres to get over the advantage line time and time again.

La Rochelle
The team from southwestern France are enjoying another solid showing in the Pro 14 and look set for another appearance in the play-offs. Six wins from their opening eight fixtures sees La Rochelle sitting pretty in third, only four points off this weekend's opponents. They have also already played some of the big guns with their two defeats coming at the hands of Toulon and Stade.

The visitors head into this one off the back of a decent enough showing against Toulouse. Having gone down to 14 men just prior to the hour mark, La Rochelle demonstrated their attacking class by running in three tries during the final quarter of the game despite being a man down.

Verdict: La Rochelle 31/20
The visitors are in top-notch form at the moment and are dominating their Champions Cup pool, also turning on the style on the domestic front. And while Lyon have also been in marvellous nick, I just think La Rochelle will have too much quality for the hosts. A moderate strike on the away victory is my tip for this one.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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