French Top 14 2018/19: Round 1 Preview

French Top 14: Toulon v Racing Metro Preview

The French Top 14 2018/19 season gets underway this coming weekend, with seven fixtures being played between Saturday the 25th and Sunday the 26th of August.

The French Top 14 returns this coming weekend with seven fixtures taking place over Saturday and Sunday. The opening week always throws up a few shocks and this week should be the same with a few big guns sure to be wary of slipping up against some fired-up minnows.

Perpignan v Stade Francais
Saturday 25 August
Stade Aimé-Giral

To Win (80 Mins)
Perpignan 11/20

Draw 16/1
Stade 29/20

New boys Perpignan will be looking to get their first campaign back in the Top 14 off to a fast start when they take on a Stade side that is somewhat lucky to still be plying their trade in the French top their after they endured a miserable 2017/18 campaign.

Perpignan come into their opening game as strong favourites with the bookmakers. They have a solid enough squad but not one laced with too many star players. Stade, on the other hand, have a multitude of world class players - most of which failed to deliver last season.

Verdict: Stade 29/10
I have a feeling we are going to see a much improved Stade outfit this year. My money is on the visitors opening their campaign with an away win. 


Lyon v Toulouse
Saturday 25 August
Matmut Stadium Gerland


To Win (80 Mins)
Lyon 4/10
Draw 18/1
Toulouse 21/10

The second Saturday fixture will see Lyon face off against Toulouse. Both teams enjoyed solid campaign last season making it to the play-offs.

Lyon have lost a host of veterans including former French pivot, Fredrick Michalak, who hung up his boots at the close of last season. They have done some smart business, however, bringing in one-cap All Black and bruising Chiefs utility back, Charlie Ngati.

Verdict: Lyon 4/10
I fancy the hosts here. They have a solid squad and know how to win rugby games on home soil.


Clermont v Agen
Saturday 25 August
Parc de Sports Marcel Michelin

To Win (80 Mins)
Clermont 1/33

Draw 60/1
Agen 15/2

Clermont will be looking to atone for an atrocious 2017/18 season by getting their campaign off to a fast start against minnows, Agen. The hosts really did struggle last season finishing in the unfamiliar position of ninth.

Agen also endured a rather low key 2017/18 campaign but with their 11th place finish as it saw them avoid the drop to the French second tier. They will be looking to kick on this season, however, and they may just do that due to some smart recruitment.

Verdict: Clermont 1/33
Like Stade, I'm expecting Clermont to produce a much better campaign this time around. I can see them opening their season with a big win on home soil. 


Bordeaux Begles v Pau
Saturday 25 August
Stade Chaban Delmas

To Win (80 Mins)
Bordeaux 3/10
Draw 19/1
Pau 26/10

Next up is a clash between the Bordeaux Begles and Pau. Both sides endured rather underwhelming seasons last term with Bordeaux finishing 10th and Pau finishing 8th.

Bordeaux have made a raft of signings during the off-season, with the most eye-catching being the capture of Fijian sensation Semi Radradra. The former Toulon player was in sensational form for Toulon last term and Pau will be hoping he continues from where he left off.

Verdict: Bordeaux 3/10
I'm expecting the hosts to put on quite a display here. They have a devastating backline who could well tear Pau's defence apart this weekend.


La Rochelle v Grenoble

Saturday 25 August
Stade Marcel Deflandre

To Win (80 Mins
La Rochelle 1/12
Draw 35/1
Grenoble 6/1

La Rochelle and Grenoble will bring a close to Saturday's proceedings when they square off at the Stade Marcel Michelin. The hosts narrowly missed out on the Top 14 play-offs last year while Grenoble were promoted back to the French Top tier.

Verdict: La Rochelle 1/12
There may not be much value here as La Rochelle are likely to dominate this fixture, but the home win is nevertheless a banker. 


Toulon v Racing Metro 92
Saturday 25 August
Stade Felix Mayol

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulon 7/20
Draw 18/1
Racing 24/10

*Click here for our full preview

Verdict: Racing 24/10
Racing did the double over Toulon last season and I'm backing them to make it three wins in their last three against this weekend's hosts.


Montpellier v Castres
Sunday 26 August
Stade Felix Mayol

To Win (80 Mins)
Montpellier 1/6
Draw 23/1
Castres 4/1

*Click here for our full preview

Verdict: Montpellier 1/6
I'm expecting Montpellier to lay down a marker here. They want revenge and I reckon they'll dish it up by beating Castres by 12 points or more. 

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Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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