ERCC: Castres v Leicester Preview

Castres and Leicester will lock horns a the Stade Pierre Antoine on Sunday the 14th of January. 

There is a lot riding on Sunday’s Pool 4 tussle between Castres and Leicester at the Stade Pierre Antoine. The former will be looking to keep up the pressure on Munster and Racing 92 to potentially sneak into the qualifying places, while the latter will look for a repeat of their comprehensive win over the same opponents earlier on this season, which would add some gloss to what has been a rather dour campaign for the English outfit.

Castres Olympique v Leicester Tigers |  Sunday 14 January | Stade Pierre Antoine | 19:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Castres 4/10 | Draw 19/1 | Leicester 21/10

Castres Olympique
It’s been a good few weeks for Christophe Urios’s men. Their latest defeat at Agen notwithstanding, their consistent form has propelled them to fourth-place on the Top 14 standings, giving them a real shot at staging a first proper assault on the title since they were crowned champions back in 2014.

Their European form, however, has been rather different. One win and a draw from their four games sees them currently occupy third-place in Pool 4; four-points adrift of fellow countrymen Racing 92.

With two games to play, Castres can only hope for a Munster win this weekend, as well as a bonus-point win of their own to leapfrog 'Les Ciel et Blanc' into second and put themselves into playoff contention with one game still to play.

Considering the current situation, smart money must be placed on a big Castres win. The Tigers have been woeful over recent weeks, with their narrow recent win over a lowly London Irish side ending what was a rather extended losing run.

Castres should have all the tools in their arsenal to right the wrongs of their 54 – 29 defeat to the same opposition in October and keep their Champions Cup playoff hopes alive going into the final week.

Leicester Tigers
Leicester’s season has seemingly fallen apart with their recent miserable domestic run all but ending their Aviva Premiership title hopes with weeks still to spare. Matt O'Connor’s side are dangerously low on confidence and, despite getting back to winning ways this past weekend, will privately dread a trip to the south of France.

Their big win over Castres earlier this campaign now seems a lifetime ago, and Pool 4’s bottom-feeders would do well to avoid a heavy defeat away from home.

Nevertheless, the two-times European champions are a club with a proud history, and they certainly won’t lie down and die this Sunday.

A side with footballers of the calibre of Ben Youngs, George Ford and Manu Tuilagi will always be in with a shout. It’s just that, this weekend, that shout may be drowned out by the bellows of 12,500 fervent Frenchmen.

Verdict: Castres 4/10
Anything other than a big Castres win would come as a huge shock to the senses. They have everything to play for in front of their loyal home support and the Tigers may struggle to cope with their intensity this Sunday.
Written by Shaun Goosen for

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