Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: French Top 14: Round 3 Preview

French Top 14: Round 3 Preview

Sebastien VAHAAMAHINA of ASM Clermont

This weekend will see a slightly shortened Top 14 fixtures list with the scheduled game between La Rochelle and Racing Metro 92 being called off due to a number of Racing players contracting the COVID-19 virus. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

While this is a major dampener, there are still six quality French top-flight games in store with the headline clash seeing Lyon lock horns with the Bordeaux Begles.

Brive vs Pau
Friday 2 October
Stade Amedee-Domenech

To Win Match
Brive 7/20
Draw 22/1
Pau 9/4

We kick things off with a clash between Brive and Pau. The hosts have enjoyed a decent enough start from their opening two games of the season beating Bayonne 42-23 before going down by just five points to a solid Bordeaux Begles side away from home. 

Pau have been in slightly better touch than their opponents for this Friday evening as they have registered two wins from two outings beating Montpellier 23-26 and Agen 33-23. 

Verdict: Brive 7/20
I reckon it'll be a tight game but I ultimately see the hosts coming out on top in this one. 

Stade Francais vs Bayonne
Friday 2 October
Stade Jean Bouin

To Win Match
Stade 1/7
Draw 28/1
Bayonne 9/2

Stade will be looking to build on their secound-round 16-22 win over Castres when they play host to Bayonne in Friday evening's final game. 

The hosts were only able to get their season underway in Round 2 as their opening round fixture had to be cancelled due to a number of their players contracting COVID-19. 

Bayonne bounced back from their heavy 42-23 opening round defeat to Brive by beating much-fancied Clermont 21-19 in Round 2. They'll be looking to upset the odds here once again. 

Verdict: Stade 1/7
This is another game that I think will go down to the wire and any plus handicap in excess of 12 points should be backed. However, I do see the host claiming the win here. 

Clermont Auvergne vs Agen
Saturday 3 October
Stade Marcel-Michelin

To Win Match
Clermont 1/17
Draw 30/1
Agen 13/2

Saturday's solitary game will see Clermont square off with Agen. at the Stade Marcel-Michelin. The home side will head into this one feeling rather wounded having been knocked out of the Champions Cup by rivals Racing Metro just two weeks ago. They have also endured a hit and miss start to the Top 14 beating Toulon 33-30 before going down 21-19 to Bayonne. 

Agen have been rather luckless during the embryonic stages of the 2020/21 Top 14 season going down narrowly to Castres in Round 1 before losing by ten points to Pau in Round 2. 

Verdict: Clermont 1/17
I'm expecting a big showing from Clermont here and I'll reckon they'll put a cricket score on the board this Saturday. 

Montpellier vs Castres
Sunday 4 October
Stade Altrad 

To Win Match
Montpellier 3/10
Draw 20/1
Castres 26/10

Notoriously slow starters Montpellier will be looking to kick start their season when they play host to Castres in Sunday's opener. 

Montpellier have started their campaign with two loses going down 23-26 to Pau in Round 1 before being hammered 41-17 by Racing in Round 2. Castres have enjoyed a slightly better start with this weekend's visitors beating Agen 22-26 in Round 1 before scrapping a losing bonus point during their 16-22 defeat to Stade Francais in Round 2

Verdict: Castres 26/10
This is more gut-based than anything else but I feel Montpellier are due a few more defeats before they get their season up and running. 

Toulouse vs Toulon
Sunday 4 October
Stade Ernst-Wallon

To Win Match
Toulouse 1/16
Draw 30/1
Toulon 7/1

Toulouse will be looking to bounce back from their European Champions Cup semi-final exit when they take on fellow traditional French giants Toulon in Sunday's final fixture. 

The hosts have been decent value this term and managed to go down by just three points to Clermont in Round 1 despite being short a man for a large part of the fixture. They bounced back from that opening day disappointment by beating La Rochelle 39-23 in Round 2. 

Toulon have also reckoned a win and a loss from their opening two fixtures going down 29-15 to La Rochelle in Round 1 before beating Lyon 36-14 in Round 2. They also head into this one off the back of two solid Challenge Cup wins over Leicester and the Scarlets. 

Verdict: Toulouse 1/16
I reckon Toulon may well be struggling from their gruelling victory over the Scarlets which is likely to leave them shipping a boatload of points in the second-stanza this Sunday. 

Lyon vs Bordeaux Begles
Saturday 3 October 
Stade Matmut

To Win Match
Lyon 3/10
Draw 20/1
Bordeaux 26/10

The round will come to a close on a rather untraditional note with a Monday evening fixture featuring Lyon and Bordeaux Begles. The two sides were the pacesetters before last season was brought to a close due to COVID. 

Lyon have been unable to carry over last season's form with Le Wolves losing their opening two games. The first saw them go down 23-27 to Racing and they lost the second 36-14 to Toulon. 

Bordeaux have just played one game thus far - their first fixture against Satde was cancelled due to their opponents having a number of players contract COVID - but they did manage to get a win in that one beating Brive 25-20. They will be somewhat mentally fatigued, however, as they went down to the Bordeaux Begles after extra time in the Challenge Cup semis. 

Verdict: Lyon 3/10
I reckon a fresh Lyon side will get the better of what will be a seriously fatigued Bordeaux Begles outfit. 

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets.

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