Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: French Top 14: Round 11 Preview

French Top 14: Round 11 Preview

Samuel EZEALA of Clermont during the Top 14 match between Clermont and Agen at Stade Marcel Michelin

The French Top 14 enters it's 11th round this coming Saturday. Darry Worthington previews all the round's action below. 

After a two-week break for the European Challenge Cup and Heineken Champions Cup third and fourth-round fixtures, the French Top 14 makes its return. There are some cracking fixtures in store including a clash between traditional heavyweights Toulon and Clermont.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Castres v Lyon
Saturday 21 November
Stade Pierre Fabre


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

Lyon 19/20

Lyon will be looking to maintain top spot on the log when they take on a Castres side who find themselves down in 12th place.

The visitors enjoyed a rollicking start to the year but have endured a recent slump in form losing four of their last five fixtures across all competitions. Castres have fared better over the past couple months winning their last two fixtures and three of their last five.

Verdict: Lyon 19/20
Lyon rested a number of their first-string players during the European break so their big guns will be fresh and ready. My money is on the away side taking the win here.

Racing 92 v Montpellier
Saturday 21 December
Paris La Defense Arena

To Win (80 Mins)
Racing 7/20

Draw 20/1
Montpellier 24/10

There's a very enticing fixture next up with a resurgent Racing side playing host to a desperate Montpellier outfit. The hosts have only lost one of their last five fixtures and head into this one off the back of a 40-27 Heineken Champions Cup victory over Welsh club, the Ospreys.

Montpellier, on the other hand, have struggled in their last five and have only registered two victories. They head into this one off of back-to-back European defeats to Toulouse.

Verdict: Racing 7/20
This should be a really good spectacle with both teams more than capable of producing a solid attacking display. I think the hosts will just edge it in the end. 

Bayonne v Brive
Saturday 21 December
Stade Jean Dauger

To Win (80 Mins)
Bayonne 7/20
Draw 18/1

Brive 23/10

We go from a battle of the giants to a duel between the minnows with tenth-place Bayonne taking on eighth-place Brive. Both teams find themselves in solid positions to avoid dropping into the relegation reckoning but neither can afford to go on a run of defeats.

The home side head into this one in shocking form and have last their last five in all competitions., having been absolutely slapped 46-5 by the Scarlets in the Challenge Cup.

Brive have been in much-better touch of late and have won three of their last five. They also come into this game off of a 24-10 Challenge Cup win over Zebre.

Verdict: Bayonne 7/20
Despite their recent woes, I cannot go against the home side here.

Agen v Toulouse
Saturday 21 December
Stade Armandie

To Win (80 Mins)
Agen 28/10

Draw 22/1
Toulouse 1/4

Toulouse will be looking to continue their climb up the Top 14 table when they take on an Agen side who are in serious danger of being drawn into a long-running relegation battle.

The two sides come into this one carrying polar-opposite runs of form with Toulouse having won their last five and Agen having lost their last five.

Verdict: Toulouse 1/4
I can't see the visitors having any troubles getting the win here as they are in marvellous form. 

Stade Francais v Pau
Sunday 22 December
Stade Jean Bouin


To Win (80 Mins)

Stade 1/4
Draw 22/1
Pau 28/10

Stade will be looking to claw away from the foot of the table when they take on ninth-placed Pau. The hosts have had a shocking season and have only won two of their 10 Top 14 fixtures. They have lost four of their last five fixtures across all competitions with their only victory coming in Round 2 of the Challenge Cup where they beat Zebre 12-13.

Pau have been in slightly better touch over the past month and a half winning two of their five games. Their most recent outing saw them beat the Cardiff Blues 34-29.

Verdict: Stade 1/4
I have a sneaky suspicion that they'll take the spoils here.

Bordeaux Begles v La Rochelle
Sunday 22 December
Stade Chaban-Delmas


To Win (80 Mins)
Bordeaux 1/7
Draw 22/1

La Rochelle 17/4

The penultimate game of the weekend will see the second-place Bordeaux Begles take on seventh-place La Rochelle.

The hosts have been absolutely brilliant this term winning seven of their 10 Top 14 fixtures while drawing another. They have also been highly impressive in Europe winning three and drawing one of their four Challenge Cup fixtures.

La Rochelle head into this one off of a far more suspect run and have only won two of their last five games, however, they did beat the Glasgow Warriors in the Heineken Cup last weekend.

Verdict: Bordeaux 1/7
I can't see Bordeaux slipping up at home. I'm confident they'll win this one by more than eight points. 

Toulon v Clermont
Sunday 22 December

Stade Mayol

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

Clermont 2/1

Two sides that have been in solid touch over the last few weeks will square off in the final Round 11 fixtures.

Toulon head into this one in arguably the best form they have been in over the past two years with the hosts winning their last five fixtures, with this string of results including Challenge Cup wins over London Irish and the Scarlets.

Clermont may not have won all of their last five fixtures but they have only suffered one defeat during this period as they went down 18-13 to Ulster in the Heineken Cup.

Verdict: Toulon 4/10
I fancy the hosts to take this one, although it will almost certainly be by less than five points. 

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets.

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