Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: French Top 14: Round 15 Preview

French Top 14: Round 15 Preview

French Top 14: Round 15 Preview

Darry Worthington previews this weekend's Round 15 Top 14 action, which will get underway on Friday the 22nd of January

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The world's most contentious league enters it's 15th round this coming weekend. While there's been plenty of off-field drama in France with the French government pulling the plug on French sides participating in the European Rugby Champions and  Challenge Cups.

It's been almost as dramatic on the rugby field of late with last weekend's catch-up fixtures seeing Bordeaux and Clermont draw 16-16, While Castres edged Montpellier and Pau snuck a one-point win over Bayonne. There was something of a shock in Paris as well with Toulon recording a famous away win over Racing. 

We're likely in for more drama this weekend as there are some tantalizing round 15 fixtures in store. Darry Worthington previews all of them below. 

Friday 22 January

La Rochelle v Bayonne
Stade Marcel Derande

To Win (80 Mins)
La Rochelle 1/16
Draw 35/1
Bayonne 15/2

We start things off with the old Top 14 David versus Golliath affair which will see second placed La Rochelle take on 12th placed Bayonne.

The hosts have been in solid touch this year claiming ten wins from the 13 fixtures they have played. The same cannot be said about Bayonne who have only managed to register five wins from their 12 fixtures.

La Rochelle have only played one game this year, which saw them beat Agen 13-43 at the start of January. Bayonne have played more recently, going down 22-23 to Pau last weekend.

Verdict: La Rochelle
The hosts have won four of their last five domestic games and have also beaten Bayonne in four of the last five meetings between the duo. My money is on them increasing it to five wins in both segments here.

Saturday 23 January 2021

Racing Metro v Bordeaux Begles
Paris La Defense Arena

To Win (80 Mins)
Racing 17/100
Draw 25/1
Bordeaux 44/10

Racing Metro will be looking to bounce back from their shock 23-29 home loss to Toulon when they take on a Bordeaux side who drew with Clermont during last weekend's catch-up fixtures.

Only six points separate the two sides on the Top 14 ladder with Racing out in third place and Bordeaux in sixth. The hosts do, however, have a game in hand over their opponents. 

In terms of both sides form, Racing have won four of their last five domestic fixtures while Bordeaux have won three, drawn one and lost one of their last five games. 

Verdict: Racing 17/100
I fully expect Racing to bounce back here. They'll be smarting after last weekend's defeat and will be keen to atone for what was a rather poor home performance. 

Clermont v Castres
Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin

To Win (80 Mins)
Clermont 1/9
Draw 28/1
Castres 58/10

Next up it's Clermont taking on Castres. Both teams are currently primed for places in the play-off with Castres just a few points off sixth place and Clermont currently lying in fifth. Both teams also have a game in hand over the sixth-placed Bordeaux Begles. 

In terms of the duo's results this term, Clermont have managed seven wins and a draw from their 13 games while Castres have six wins and a draw. 

Both sides were in action last weekend with Clermont drawing 16-16 away to Bordeaux and beating Montpellier 19-21. 

Verdict: Clermont 1/9
Clermont should be far too strong for a plucky but rather hit and miss Castres outfit. 

Montpellier v Lyon
GCL Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Montpellier 69/100
Draw 20/1
Lyon 5/4

Montpellier will be looking to kick start their faltering season when they take on a solid Lyon side this Saturday. 

The hosts are having a dire time of it this term and look like they may well be dragged into a relegation battle as they currently occupy 13th spot on the Top 14 ladder and have only managed three wins from the 13 games they have played. They have replaced their coach in a bid to stop the rot with former French international Phillipe Saint-Andre taking over from Xavier Garbajosa. 

Lyon are having a much better time of it this term and currently reside in seventh spot on the log with seven wins and a draw from their 13 games. One of these defeats did come in their last outing which saw them go down 31-9 to Bordeaux a fortnight ago. 

Verdict: Lyon 5/4
I reckon this is great value. Montpellier are really struggling at the moment and I cannot see them turning the corner against a solid Lyon side. 

Agen v Toulouse
Stade Armandie

To Win (80 Mins)
Agen 14/1
Draw 45/1
Toulouse N/A

Saturday's final game sees last-place Agen tackle league leaders Toulouse. The hosts looked destined for the drop having yet to win a game this season. They also head into Saturday's fixture with a points differential of -323. 

Toulouse have enjoyed a stellar time of it recently and ascended to the top of the ladder with a convincing 48-24 win over Stade this past weekend. This was their tenth win of the season. They have also drawn a game and only lost three fixtures this term. 

Verdict: Toulouse
I feel Toulouse would run up a massive score here and any handicap under 38 should be taken on the minus.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Sunday 24 January

Pau v Brive
Stade du Hameau

To Win (80 Mins)
Pau 34/100
Draw 22/1
Brive 49/20

The penultimate game of the weekend will see 11th place Pau take on 10th place Brive. The two sides aren't out of the running for play-off berths but really need to start picking up points at a rapid rate. 

Both teams have one won and lost won since the turn of the year with Pau going down 31-42 to Clermont and beating Bayonne 22-23, while Brive lost 51-21 to Stade and beat Montpellier 23-22. 

Three of the last five games have been won by Pau but Brive have won the last two clashes between the sides. 

Verdict: Pau 34/100
Both sides have endured patchy form and I personally will be staying away from this game as I reckon either side could win it.

Toulon v Stade Francais
Stade Mayol

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulon 29/100
Draw 22/1
Stade 28/10

We close out the weekend with what was once the biggest game in French domestic rugby with Toulon set to tackle Stade Francais. 

The hosts had a great time of it during the catch-up set of fixtures as they registered a famous 23-29 away win over Racing Metro. This was their eighth win of the campaign and they currently lie fourth spot on the standings. 

Stade weren't involved in the catch-up games. They did, however, lose their last fixture 48-24 which was against Toulouse. 

Verdict: Toulon 29/100
They're in form and I can't see them going down at home. We could well see tries in this one as well, so keep an eye on those Live In-Play total points markets. 

Written by Darry Worthington.
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