French Top 14: Round 25 Preview

Rugby players engage in a tackle

The penultimate set of Top 14 regular season fixtures will get underway on Saturday the 18th of May.

While the top two semi-final spots have already been secured there is an almighty battle still going on for the 'Barrage' places with seven sides still capable of qualifying for the play-offs. With that in mind, Round 25 of the Top 14 season should be a nail-biting one.

Pau v Grenoble
Saturday 18 May
Stade du Hameau
15:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Pau 2/11
Draw 22/1
Grenoble 38/10

We kick things off with a clash between a Grenoble side whose relegation has all but been confirmed and a Pau outfit who just need one point from this game to ensure their safety with a week to spare.

Both sides have endured dismal seasons with Pau only winning eight of the fixtures they have played thus far and Grenoble only winning five. Both sides head into the encounter off the back of disappointing defeats with pau going down 83-3 to Stade and Grenoble losing 11-29 to Agen at home.

Verdict: Pau 2/11
Grenoble's only shot at having a chance of survival heading into the final round will be to win this one with a bonus point. And while I do think they'll be able to score more than three tries, I still can't see them beating Pau at home.
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Perpignan v Racing Metro 92
Saturday 18 May
Stade Aime Giral
15:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Perpignan 38/10
Draw 25/1
Racing 1/10

Next up we have an already relegated Perpignan side taking on a Racing outfit who need a win here to remain in the play-off spots.

The visitors haven't been in the best of touch over the past two rounds going down 27-29 to Pau in Round 23 and 23-27 to an out of sorts Stade Francais in Round 24.

Perpignan head into this one in even worse form with the relegated outfit having lost their last four games.

Verdict: Racing 1/10
Not much value here but Racing desperately need the points and I can see that desperation getting them over the line.
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Agen v Castres
Saturday 18 May
Stade Armandie
15:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Agen 17/10
Draw 18/1
Castres 9/20

Agen will be looking to secure their survival by getting a point or more when they take on a Castres side that is well-placed to secure a 'Barrage' berth.

The two sides have endured contrasting fortunes over the previous two rounds with the hosts beating Grenoble and Lyon, while Castres have gone down to Montpellier and Toulon by the narrowest of margins.

Verdict: Agen 17/20
I rather fancy an upset here. Agen are in great form at the minute and I can see them giving a very hit-and-miss Castres side a real run for their money. A small punt on the home win is the way I'm going to play it.
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Lyon v La Rochelle
Saturday 18 May
Stade Gerland
21:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Lyon 2/9
Draw 30/1
La Rochelle 21/10

Saturday's final fixture will see play-off rivals Lyon and La Rochelle square off at the Stade Gerland. The hosts currently occupy third spot on the log and two points from this one would ensure them a play-off berth.

La Rochelle are in a more precarious position with the away side currently sitting four points off Lyon in fourth. A win here would all but guarantee them a play-off spot, however.

Both teams have had a good time of it over the past two months with Lyon winning four of their last five fixtures and La Rochelle winning three of their last five domestic games. The visitors do come into this one off the back of a Challenge Cup defeat to Clermont, though.

Verdict: Lyon 2/9
The Wolves are a tough nut to crack on home soil and I don't La Rochelle have the ability to break them open. My money is on the hosts winning this one by between seven and 14 points. 
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Montpellier v Stade Francais
Sunday 19 May
Altrad Stadium
12:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Montpellier 1/5
Draw 22/1
Stade 34/10

Sunday's opener is a crucial one with both Montpellier and Stade sitting just outside the top 6. A loss for either team is likely to signal the end of their quest for a play-off berth.

Both teams have been in relatively good form over the past month-and-a-half with Montpellier winning four of their last five and Stade winning three of their last five. The duo also come into this one off the back of Round 23 victories with Montpellier beating Castres 9-12 and beating Racing 23-27.

Verdict: Montpellier 1/5
There's not much to choose between these two sides that's why any plus handicap offer in excess of seven points is gold.
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Bordeaux Begles v Toulouse
Sunday 19 May
Stade Chaban-Delmas
16:50

To Win (80 Mins)
Bordeaux 13/20
Draw 16/1
Toulouse 13/10

The penultimate match of the round will see first-placed Toulouse take on ninth-placed Bordeaux. The visitors have no hope of reaching the play-offs while a victory for the hosts would assure them top spot on the log with a week to spare.

Toulouse have been in magnificent form this term and head into this one having won four of their last five fixtures with their victory being an 83-6 demolition of Pau. Have endured a far more tumultuous campaign and head into this one off of three straight losses.

Verdict: Toulouse 13/10
This is great value. Toulouse have been solid on the road and shouldn't have much trouble putting away Pau.
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Toulon v Clermont
Sunday 19 May
Stade Mayol
21:00

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

We close out the round with a clash between a Toulon side with nothing to play for and a Clermont outfit who will be looking to capitilise on any mistakes Toulouse may mke earlier in the day.

Toulon have been in rather patchy form of late and have only won two of their last five. The hosts also head into this one off the back of a 3021 loss to La Rochelle. Clermont, on the other hand, have won there last two fixtures with their most recent result being a 35-13 win over Perpignan.

Verdict: Clermont 31/20
I'm going to have a very small strike on the away side here as there's a bit of value in it.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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