French Top 14 : Round 2 Preview

French Top 14: Toulon v Racing Metro Preview

Round 2 of the French Top 14 season will get underway on Saturday the 1st of September.

The French Top 14 was at its unpredictable best last weekend with quite a few sides providing upsets.

We could well be in for a few more shocks in Round 2 as their over some extremely interesting games taking place with Montpellier and La Rochelle locking horns and Racing Metro locking horns with Clermont.

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Pau v Toulon
Saturday 1 September
Stade du Hameau


To Win (80 Mins)
Pau 11/20
Draw 18/1
Toulon 31/20

First up we have a clash between two sides who got their campaigns underway with defeats, with Pau going down 41-19 away to Bordeaux and Toulon being beaten by Racing Metro 9-25.

Both of these teams struggled with ball-in-hand last week and they will need to improve greatly if we are to get any entertainment value out of this game.

In terms of last year's results, Pau managed to beat Toulon 38-27 at home but went down 41-14 to their opponents in the reverse tie.

Verdict: Pau 11/20
Those who thought a Toulon resurgent was going to take place right off the bat were proved very wrong last week. I think the mega-rich French club will struggle again this weekend, and I can see them having suffered two defeats in succession come the final whistle on Saturday. 

Stade Francais v Bordeaux Begles
Saturday 1 September
Stade Jean Bouin

To Win (80 Mins)
Stade 3/10
Draw 19/1

Bordeaux 26/10

We're off to the French capital for our next clash with Stade Francais and Bordeaux set to do battle on Saturday afternoon. Both teams got their seasons off to impressive starts with Stade beating Perpignan 15-46 away from home, while Bordeaux beat Pau by 22-points on home soil.

Stade managed to win last season's home fixture against Bordeaux by 22 points to 12, while the reverse tie was won by Bordeaux (30-10).

Verdict: Stade 3/10
I quite fancy Stade to get the job done on home soil. For all their woes last season, they were actually a pretty tough nut to crack on home soil. I'm expecting that trend to continue this season.

Grenoble v Toulouse
Saturday 1 September
Stade des Alpes

To Win (80 Mins)
Grenoble 11/10
Draw 17/1
Toulouse 15/20

Grenoble will be looking to back their first win of the season when they take on a Toulouse side who also failed to open their campaign with a victory. Despite losing their opener to La Rochelle will be pretty pleased with their efforts as they only went down by seven points away from home.

Toulouse will be rather happy with their opening weekend as they managed to secure a draw against Lyon away from home. While the 16-16 result wasn't the ideal start, it did ensure that Toulouse started their campaign by picking up two points.

Verdict: Grenoble 11/10
Grenoble looked the best of all the promoted sides last weekend and I think they'll be even stronger at home. 

Montpellier v La Rochelle
Saturday 1 September
GGL Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Montpellier 2/13

Draw 24/1
La Rochelle 17/4

Montpellier will be looking to bounce back from their opening day defeat to Castres when they take on La Rochelle. The hosts somehow managed to throw the game away against Castres as they lay siege to their opponents' goal line for the final 15 minutes of the game without grabbing a five-pointer.

La Rochelle enjoyed a far more positive start to their campaign as they beat newly promoted Grenoble 28-21 at home.

Verdict: Montpellier 2/13
I'm expecting a big response from a Montpellier side who were far from their best last Sunday. 

Castres v Lyon
Saturday 1 September
Stade Pierre Fabre


To Win (80 Mins)
Castres 1/4
Draw 20/1

Lyon 11/4

The final Saturday game we'll take a look at is the clash between Castres and Lyon. The visitors for this weekend's game got their season off to a positive enough start as they drew 16-16 with Toulouse, while Castres managed to bag yet another win over Montpellier with the reigning champions grinding out a 20-25 away victory.

Both teams showed positive signs last week but Castres undoubtedly looked the better of the two, with their forward pack standing up to a solid Montpellier tight five.

Verdict: Castres 1/4
This Castres team really looks the business. They have a solid pack, are hard to break down on defence and their backline is capable of tearing most teams apart. I can see them making it two wins from two starts. 

Agen v Perpignan
Sunday 2 September
Stade Armandie

To Win (80 Mins)
Agen 3/10
Draw 19/1

Perpignan 26/10

Sunday's action gets underway with a clash between minnows Agen and Grenoble. The latter were reminded just how tough life in the Top 14 is going to be last week as they were trounced 15-46 by Stade Francais. Agen also found themselves on the receiving end of a hiding last weekend as they went down 67-23 to Clermont.

Verdict: Agen 3/10
This should be a real dogfight with both sides unlikely to take to many risks after last week's humblings. I can see Agen ultimately coming out on top by around seven points. 

Racing Metro 92 v Clermont
Sunday 2 September
Stade La Defense Arena

To Win (80 Mins)
Racing 3/10
Draw 18/1
Clermont 49/20

The Top 14 fixtures committee have certainly followed the old adage of 'save the best for last' this week as our final fixture sees Racing Metro take on fellow giants Clermont. Both teams head into this one off the back of impressive results with Racing beating Toulon 9-25 and Clermont beating Agen 67-23.

Both teams will look to run the ball here as it's in their nature. As such we may well be in for an exhilarating affair out in the capital.

Verdict: Clermont 49/20
I'm going to go against the grain here and back Clermont to bag the win away from home. They looked really sharp on attack last week and I think they may well just pip Racing here.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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