French Top 14: Lyon v Toulouse Preview

Lyon will be looking to bounce back from back-to-back defeats when they take on Toulouse on Sunday the 26th of November.

Lyon will be looking to get their stellar season back on track when they take on a Toulouse outfit that has also recently faltered. The hosts come into this one off the back of two consecutive defeats but still maintain a lofty second position on the Top 14 log, while the visitors dropped out of the top four this weekend due to a 10 point loss to log-leaders Montpellier.

So, will Lyon stop the rot or will Toulouse leave the hosts with a touch of the Blues come the final whistle on Sunday?

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Lyon v Toulouse | Sunday 26 November |  Matmut Stadium Gerland | 17:50

To Win (80 Mins)
Lyon 7/20 | Draw 21/1 | Toulouse 47/2

The Wolves have been brought crashing back down to earth by losses to heavy-hitters La Rochelle (15-19) and Clermont (39-18). It can't be said that no one saw this coming as Lyon have been punching well above their weight division since the start of the domestic season, and were sure to begin to feel 'Punch Drunk' at some point. Their blitzkrieg like start to the season has ensured they still maintain second spot on the Top 14 log despite being winless for over a fortnight.

While the defeats will have dented their confidence somewhat, don't expect Lyon to cower at the sight of another one of the League's heavyweights. This Lyon side simply have too much heart to not put up a fight this Sunday. In fact, I think they may sense blood in the water with Toulouse missing a handful of their big names due to international call-ups.

The side dubbed 'TFC' by their fanatical support, faced an Acid Test last weekend in the form of Montpellier away. To say that Toulouse failed that particular test would be rather harsh. Yes, the scoreboard - the game ended 32-22 - says they were rather comfortably beaten, but it must be remembered that Montpellier only stole into the ascendancy late in the second stanza when Toulouse only had 13 players on the field due to two sin-binnings. Toulouse can, in fact, take a lot of heart from last week's display.

While a lot can be taken from last Sunday's performance, it still didn't change the fact that Toulouse have only won one game on the road, and that particular victory came against a Brive side engaged in a relegation battle. Toulouse have actually struggled to cope with the grit offered up by the sides near the tail end of the log. They could also only muster up a draw against current cellar-dwellers Oyonnax in the opening round. And while Lyon are boxing at the other end of the table this term, their time in the National Division 2 - otherwise known as the French Second Tier - two years ago has embedded a dogged attitude into their DNA. This determination to win is often missing from big guns like Toulouse's armoury, particularly when these 'Glamour Sides' hit the road.

Verdict: Lyon 7/20
They may have been well-beaten by Clermont but there was still much to admire about Lyon's performance. My money is on a return home and the visit of a poor travelling side bringing an end to Lyon's mini-slump. 

Written by Darry Worthington for

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