French Top 14: Round 4 Preview

French Top 14: Round 4 Preview

The French Top 14 enters its fourth round this weekend with the headline clash seeing Pau take on pacesetters, Clermont. 

There was drama aplenty in the Top 14 last week with late red cards, come from behind victories and some very questionable refereeing decisions making for captivating viewing.

In terms of how the round affected the log, Clermont still maintains their unbeaten record and lie top of the pops after beating Stade Francais 42-20, while Perpignan lies at the foot of the table after going down 16-22 to Lyon at home.

Lyon v Montpellier
Saturday 15 September
Matmut Stadium Garland
14:45


To Win (80 Mins)
Lyon 9/20
Draw 18/1

Montpellier 7/4

Handicap
Lyon (-4.5) 8/10
Montpellier (+4.5) 8/10

Lyon will be looking to move into the Top 6 when they take on a Montpellier side that is also currently stuck in the mid-table traffic jam.

The hosts head into this one having tasted their first victory of the season last weekend as they beat minnows Perpignan 16-22 in Round 3. Montpellier didn't fare as well last weekend as they were held to a 9-9 draw way to Bordeaux.

Verdict: Lyon (-4.5) 8/10
I quite fancy the Wolves to get the business done here. Montpellier really are struggling at the moment and look a shadow of the team that topped last season's log.

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Agen v Bordeaux Begles
Saturday 15 September
Stade Armandie
18:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Agen 21/20

Draw 18/1
Bordeaux 8/10


Handicap
Agen (+1.5) 8/10
Bordeaux (-1.5) 8/10

Saturday's next clash could prove to be a real dour one as both Agen and Bordeaux have hardly set the world alight on attack this season. The hosts head into this one in 12th place with only four points to their name, which came courtesy of a narrow away win over Perpignan.

Bordeaux have also only won one game this season but last week's 9-9 draw with Montpellier ensured they are in a much healthier position than their opponents as they lie in eighth place.

Verdict: Agen 21/20
I'm going to back the hosts to claim the spoils here. This just looks like a game that will go the way of whoever is hosting. Both teams are struggling for form and there really is very little between them at present.
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Castres v Grenoble
Saturday 15 September
Stade Pierre Fabre
18:00


To Win (80 Mins)
Castres 1/33
Draw 46/1

Grenoble 8/1

Handicap
Castres (-21.5) 17/20
Grenoble  (+21.5) 17/20

Castres will be looking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to Toulon when they take on a Grenoble side who are yet to win a game this term.

Reigning champions Castres will be kicking themselves after they let an eight-point lead slip in the final ten minutes of their clash with Toulon last week. If Castres had managed to pull through in the aforementioned game, it would have ensured that they went into the fourth round of the season undefeated.

Grenoble also suffered a narrow defeat last weekend as they went down by just three-points to much vaunted Pau. The recently promoted side did manage to claim a losing bonus point from the fixture which has seen them double their season points haul to two points.

Verdict: Castres (-21.5) 17/20
Grenoble may have put up a fight at home but I can't see them doing anything on the road against a solid Castres side. My money is on the hosts taking this one by 17 points or more. 

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Pau v Clermont
Saturday 15 September
Stade du Hameau
18:00


To Win (80 Mins)
Pau 21/20
Draw 18/1

Clermont 15/20

Handicap
Pau (+2.5) 8/10
Clermont (-2.5) 8/10

Pau face a stern test in Saturday's penultimate fixture as they will play host to a rampant Clermont side. The visitors have been in sensational form this season winning all three of their previous fixtures while amassing an impressive points differential of +89. Their attacking exploits have seen them garner an attacking bonus point in two of their three fixtures.

Pau will have it all to do if they are to beat the current log-leaders. While the hosts have won two of their three fixtures an come into this one off the back of a decent away win, they are yet to face a side anywhere near as good as Clermont are.

Verdict: Clermont (-2.5) 8/10
I think Pau will give a good account of themselves during the first stanza but they will start to struggle in the second when Clermont bring on their impact subs.
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Toulouse v Racing Metro 92
Saturday 15 September
Stade Ernest-Wallon
20:45


To Win (80 Mins)
Toulouse 9/20
Draw 18/1
Racing 17/10


Handicap
Toulouse (-5.5) 17/20
Racing (+5.5) 17/20

Toulouse and Racing Metro will bring the curtain down on Saturday's action when they square off at the Stade Ernest Wallon. The hosts head into this one off the back of a seven-point victory over La Rochelle, while Racing make the trip having hammered Agen 59-7.

The visitors have won both their away games this season by comfortable margins with their first coming away to Toulon and their second being the aforementioned win over Agen.

Verdict: Racing 17/10
This really is a good Racing side. And while Toulouse will test them, I can still see the visitors bagging the win.  
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La Rochelle v Perpingian
Sunday 16 September 
Stade Marcel Delflandre
12:30


To Win (80 Mins)
La Rochelle 1/25
Draw 46/1

Perpignan 15/2

La Rochelle will be looking for a much-needed confidence boost when they take on last-placed Perpignan. The hosts have lost two of their opening three fixtures with their only win being a hard-fought 28-21 home win over minnows Grenoble.

Perpignan have also endured a horrid start to the Top 14 season and are yet to win a game. They come into this one having conceded 93 points while only scoring 53 of their own.

Verdict: La Rochelle 1/25
Despite their recent woes, I can't see La Rochelle having any trouble getting one over the cellar-dwellers. My money is on the hosts taking this one by 18 points or more.
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Stade Francais v Toulon
Sunday 16 September
Stade Jean Bouin
16:50


To Win (80 Mins)
Stade 7/20
Draw 20/1
Toulon 47/20


Toloun will be looking to build on their 29-28 victory over Castres when they take on a Stade Francais outfit who have enjoyed a solid start to the campaign.

The visitors managed to bag their first win of the season last week as they edged the reigning champions by one-point. The victory came at a cost, however, with influential centre Matheui Basteraud being sanctioned to a moment of madness that saw him throw at least two punches.

Stade had a much tougher time of it in Round 3 as they suffered their first defeat of the season going down 42-24 to pacesetters, Clermont.

Verdict: Stade 7/20
They may be coming into this one off the back of a disheartening defeat but I can't see anything but Stade bouncing back against a very mediocre Toloun side. 



Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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