French Top 14: Round 3 Preview

French Top 14: Round 3 Preview

The Third Round of the French Top 14 runs from Saturday the 8th of September to Sunday the 9th of September. Our scribe previews the action below.

The Top 14 continued to throw up upset results last past weekend as an un-fancied Clermont Auvergne hammered Racing Metro 92 17-40. The result has seen Clermont, who endured a torrid campaign last season, announce themselves as true title contenders.

Elsewhere, Toulon suffered their second defeat of the campaign as they went down 20-10 to Pau, while reigning champions Castres made it two wins from two starts as they beat Lyon 19-16.

Bordeaux Begles v Montpellier Herault
Saturday 8 September
Stade Chaban-Delmas

To Win (80 Mins)
Bordeaux 6/10

Draw 20/1
Montpellier 27/20

The weekend's action gets underway with a clash between two sides who have recorded one win and one loss this season. Hosts, Bordeaux, were brought thundering down back to earth this past weekend as they followed up their opening day 41-19 win over Pau by going down 20-8 to Stade Francais in Round 2.

Like Bordeaux, Montpellier have only tasted victory once this term but their win came this past weekend when they beat La Rochelle 36-14. It was a much more clinical showing from the Montpellier opener where they went down 20-25 to Castres.

Verdict: Montpellier 27/20
The visitors looked a hell of a lot better last week and I'm backing them to improve even further here. 
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Stade Toulouse v La Rochelle
Saturday 8 September
Stade Ernest-Wallon

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulouse 1/5
Draw 25/1
La Rochelle 34/10


We head from Bordeaux over to Toulouse for our next clash which will see undefeated Toulouse take on a slightly misfiring La Rochelle outfit.

The hosts for Saturday's encounter opened their season with a 16-16 draw against Lyon. They managed to do slightly better in their next game as they beat minnows Grenoble 20-23 away from home.

La Rochelle failed to follow up on their opening day 28-21 victory over Grenoble as they went down 36-14 to Montpellier this past weekend. This weekend's visitors are lacking synchronicity on both attack and defence and will need to up their game if they are to get one over Toulouse.

Verdict: Toulouse 1/5
I think this one will be a very tight affair but one which will be edged by the hosts. 

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USA Perpignan v Lyon OU
Saturday 8 September
Stade Aime Giral

To Win (80 Mins)
Perpignan 7/10
Draw 18/1
Lyon 12/10

Lyon will be looking to attain their first win of the season when they travel to newly promoted Perpignan this Saturday.

The hosts have found the going tough back in the French top tier losing their opening two games, with the first a mammoth home defeat to Stade and the second a much-narrower two-point away defeat to Agen.

Lyon have enjoyed a slightly more positive start to the season drawing their opener with Toulouse and then claiming a losing bonus point from last weekend's 19-16 away defeat to reigning champions, Castres.

Verdict: Lyon 12/10
My money is on Lyon making it third-time lucky and they will bag their first win of the season in Round 3. 

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Racing Metro 92 v Agen
Saturday 8 September
Paris La Defense Arena

To Win (80 Mins)
Racing 1/50
Draw 40/1
Agen 9/1

Next up is a hit and miss Racing Metro outfit taking on plucky Agen. Racing got their campaign off to a great start as they beat Toulon 9-25 in the opening round. Their joy was to be short-lived, however, as they were brought crashing down to earth this past weekend by a rampant Clermont side who drubbed them 17-40.

Like their hosts, Agen have also felt the wrath of Clermont already, losing their opening game against The Vulcans 67-23. The minnow French club did manage to bounce back from that defeat as they beat Perpignan by two points.

Verdict: Racing 1/50
Despite last week's abysmal showing indicating otherwise, Racing are a quality outfit who should back that statement with an emphatic victory here. 

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Clermont Auvergne v Stade Francais
Saturday 8 September
Parc des Sports Marcel

To Win (80 Mins)
Clermont 1/10
Draw 30/1
Stade 11/2

Clermont will be looking to make it three impressive wins on the trot when they take on Stade in the last of Saturday's fixtures. The hosts have been in all-conquering form over the past fortnight hammering Agen and giving Racing Metro a true rugby lesson.

Stade have also fared rather well thus far and, like their opponents, remain unbeaten having garnered wins from fixtures against Perpignan and Bordeaux.

Verdict: Clermont  1/10
I suspect we'll see both teams take a less conservative approach to this one which could see it become a rather high-scorer. Regardless of how big the total points tally gets, I still think Clermont will be the main provider and win this one by at least 20-points. 

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Grenoble v Pau
Sunday 9 September
Stade des Alpes

To Win (80 Mins)
Grenoble 6/10
Draw 20/1
Pau 27/20

We kick-off Sunday's doubleheader with an encounter between newly promoted Grenoble and a Pau side that will be on a mammoth high after downing Toulon 20-10 last Saturday.

Grenoble have gotten life in the Top 14 off to a reasonable enough start as they ran both La Rochelle (28-21) and Toulouse (20-23) over the opening fortnight.

Pau will be slightly more pleased after last week's 20-10 victory over Toulon as it more than made up for their 41-19 away loss to Bordeaux in the opening round.

Verdict: Pau 27/20
I'm expecting a big performance from Pau, who are not the best of travellers but should be able to comfortably dispatch of a Bordeaux side who are likely to be feeling the effects of their previous two outings. 

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RC Toulon v Castres Olympique
Sunday 9 September
Stade Mayol

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulon 3/10
Draw 20/1
Castres  26/10

We close out the round with a clash between heavyweights Toulon and upstarts, Castres. The hosts for this encounter may be one of Europe's glamour clubs but their current stlye of play is the least glamours thing I have ever seen, with Toulon only able to score one try in their opening two games.

Castres certainly aren't a bunch of rugby mercenaries out for a final paycheck. The visitors may feature a number of foreign internationals but they are still a true side who are determined to retain their trophy.

Verdict: Castres 26/10
They have already beaten Montpellier away from home and I think they'll have made it two big scalps on the road by the time the final whistle goes here. 


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Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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