French Top 14: Round 8 Preview

Rugby players engage in a tackle

After two weeks of European action the French Top 14 returns with seven games set to go down between Saturday the 27th of October and Sunday the 27th.

The French Top 14 returns with a bang this week with a whole host of blockbuster clashes taking place this weekend. The headline clash will see second place Stade Francais take on Montpelier, while other highlights include the game between Toulon and La Rochelle and Saturday's game between Clermont and Castres.

Clermont v Castres
Saturday 27 October
Stade Marcel Michelin

To Win (80 Mins)
Clermont 1/12
Draw 28/1
Castres 6/1

The opening game of Round 8 of the 2018/19 French top 14 season sees first placed d Clermont take on reigning champions Castres at the Stade Marcel Michelin.

Both teams have been involved in European action over the past fortnight with Clermont beating Northampton by 21 points and Timisoara Saracens by 58 points in the Challenge Cup, while Castres going down by five points to Gloucester and beat the Exeter by four points.

Verdict: Clermont 1/12
This should be a rather hard-fought game for the majority of the piece but I can see Clermont's superior bench seeing them take the ascendancy during the final quarter of the game. My money is on the hosts taking it by between four and eight points.

Agen v Grenoble
Saturday 27 October
Stade Armandie

To Win (80 Mins)
Agen 3/10
Draw 20/1
Grenoble 24/10

The next fixture of the day pits relegation candidates Agen up against Grenoble. The visitors come into this one off a mixed bag of results in the Challenge Cup as they beat Harlequins by six points in their opener and then were hammered 40-14 by Treviso in their second fixture.

Agen didn't have any European fixtures and head into this one off the back of a 10-0 Top 14 defeat to an impressive Toulouse outfit.

Verdict: Agen 3/10
The hosts have a decent home record this season and I can see them adding further gloss to it here.

Perpignan v Toulouse
Saturday 28 October

Stade Aime Giral

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

Toulouse 15/20

Perpignan will be looking to bounce back from a poor two weeks in Europe when they take on a Toulouse side that head into this encounter off the back of an eye-catching a one-point victory over European Rugby Champions Cup holders, Leinster.

Perpignan currently reside at the foot of the Top 14 table and are yet to win a game this season, while Toulouse have won for of their seven domestic fixtures and occupy sixth place on the ladder.

Verdict: Toulouse 15/20
If they can put in half the performance they did last week then Toulouse will have no troubles seeing off an extremely limited Perpignan side.

Racing Metro 92 v Pau
Saturday 28 October
Paris la Defense Arena


To Win (80 Mins)
Racing 1/10
Draw 28/10
Pau 52/10

Racing 92 will be looking to build on consecutive European victories when they take on a Pau side who head into Saturday's clash off the back of a six-point Challenge Cup victory over Stade Francais.

The hosts have enjoyed a decent start to their domestic season winning seven of their four games, whil Pau have won the exact same amount but sit three places lower on the ladder in tenth.

Verdict: Racing 92 1/10
Pau have struggled on the road this term and I cannot see them pulling off a surprise against a solid Racing outfit. My money is on the hosts taking this one by seven points or more.

Stade Francais v Montpellier
Saturday 28 October
Stade Jean Bouin


To Win (80 Mins)
Stade  4/10
Draw 20/1

Montpellier 2/1

We round out Saturday's action with a tie between title hopefuls Stade Francais and Montpellier. Both teams endured poor starts to their European campaigns with Stade losing to Worcester and Pau in the Challenge Cup and Montpellier going down to the Newcastle Falcons after narrowly beating Edinburgh in the opening round of the Champions Cup.

While Stade have endured a horror start to their European run, they have been impressive on the domestic front winning five of their opening seven games.  Montpellier have also been in decent touch this term winning four of their opening seven.

Verdict: Stade 4/10
I can see a return to domestic competition sparking Stade. My money is on the hosts taking this one by between one and seven points. 

Bordeaux Begles v Lyon
Sunday 29 October
Stade Chaban Delmas

To Win (80 Mins)
Bordeaux 7/20
Draw 21/1
Lyon 43/20

Eighth-placed Bordeaux will be looking to make home ground advantage count when they take on third-placed Lyon in Sunday's opener. The hosts have won only three of their opening seven games while Lyon have registered four wins thus far.

Bordeaux head into thi one off a Challenge Cup loss to Connacht and a draw with Perpignan, while Lyon make the trip having registered two Champions Cup losses to Saracens and Cardiff.

Verdict: Lyon 43/20
I quite fancy Lyon to take the honours here. They're a side who tends to travel well.

Toulon v La Rochelle
Sunday 29 October

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulon 5/10
Draw 19/1
La Rochelle 33/20

Toulon will be looking to arrest a horror run of form when they take on La Rochelle. Not only have the hosts lost five of their opening seven domestic games but they also head into this one off the back of embarrassing defeats to Edinburgh and Newcastle in the Champions Cup.

La Rochelle have enjoyed a much more positive start to their domestic campaign winning four of their seven fixtures. They have also been much more competent in Europe and head into this one off the back two big wins over Enisei-STM.

Verdict: La Rochelle 33/20
I know they'll stop the rot at some point but I can't see Toulon doing it this weekend over what will be a confident La Rochelle outfit.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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