Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: French Top 14: Round 19 Preview

French Top 14: Round 19 Preview

French Top 14: Round 19 Preview

Darry Worthington previews all of the Round 19 Top 14 action, which will get underway on Friday, 05 March. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sport

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

With the 6 Nations back on hiatus this weekend, the focus in Europe switches to the domestic stuff which includes the 19th Round of the Top 14. 

There are only seven rounds before the tournament reaches its play-off phase, so log points are crucial at this juncture as teams look to stake their claims at play-off berths or simply to avoid the dreaded drop to the PRO D2. 

Montpellier v Clermont
Friday 5 March
GGL Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)

The weekend's action gets underway at the GGL Stadium where Montpellier will be fighting for their Top 14 survival when they take on a Clermont side who will still be harbouring hopes of topping the Top 14 ladder come the close of the regular season. 

The hosts head into this one off of a week off, while the visitors hammered Agen 16-52 during a catch-up fixture this past week.

When these sides last met, Montpellier emerged the victors running out 15-21 victors back in December. They have won a further two of the last five games between the sides while Clermont have won the other two. 

Verdict: Clermont
Montpellier may be desperate but I reckon they'll struggle against a Clermont side who are in decent touch.  

Toulouse v Brive
Saturday 6 March
Stade Ernest-Wallon

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulouse 1/25
Draw 45/1
Brive 10/1

Next up we've log-leaders Toulouse taking on ninth-placed Brive. The hosts returned to the top of the Top 14 standings with last week's impressive 11-14 away win over fellow high-flyers, La Rochelle. This was the perfect tonic for Toulouse as they had gone down to Lyon the week prior. 

Brive were not involved in the catch up round last week but head into this one in decent touch having registered four wins from their last five games with their latest victory coming in Round 17 where they beat Bordeaux 25-23.

In terms of recent meetings between the sides, Toulouse have won three of the last five games including the most recent encounter that saw claim a 16-36 away victory. 

Verdict: Toulouse 1/25
I think this one will be rather tight, which is why any plus handicap in excess of nine points should be backed. 

Stade Francais v Agen
Saturday 6 March
Stade Jean-Bouin

To Win (80 Mins)
Stade N/A
Draw 45/1
Agen 15/1

Stade will be looking to move back into the play-off berths when they take on Agen side that would need a miracle to avoid relegation. 

The hosts weren't involved in last week's catch up fixtures but the visitors were, although they probably wouldn't have wanted to have been after they were hammered 16-52 by Clermont. 

Stade themselves are enduring a run of poor form and have only managed to register one win from their last five games, with their most recent outing seeing them go down 16-11 to La Rochelle. 

Verdict: Stade
Stade may be in poor form but I cannot see them losing to this Agen side. 

Castres v La Rochelle
Saturday 6 March
Stade Pierre-Fabre

To Win (80 Mins)
Castres 21/20
Draw 20/1
La Rochelle 81/100

La Rochelle will be looking to bounce back from their narrow defeat to Toulouse when they take on a Castres side who desperately need a couple of wins if they are to stage a late assault on a play-off berth.

As touched on above, La Rochelle were desperately unlucky last weekend as they suffered a narrow 11-14 defeat at the hands of a talented Toulouse outfit. What will be of slight concern for La Rochelle is that was their second defeat in their past four games as they went down 26-22 to Racing Metro three games prior to the Toulouse defeat. 

Castres weren't involved in last weekend's round of catch up games with their last outing being in Round 17 where they went down 23-20 to Racing Metro.

Verdict: Castres 21/20
I'm on the hosts here. While La Rochelle are a solid side, They are struggling at the minute and could well be caught cold here. 

Jockeys Ride Horses

Bordeaux Begles v Pau
Saturday 6 March
Stade Chaban-Delmas

To Win (80 Mins)
Bordeaux 2/13
Draw 33/1
Pau 46/10

Saturday's action continues with fifth-placed Bordeaux taking on 12th-placed Pau. The two sides come into this one with completely different assignments as Bordeaux are looking to cement themselves in the play-off places while Pau are looking to pull away from a relegation battle. 

Both teams avoided last weeks catch-up games but were involved in the Round 17 action suffering narrow defeats with Bordeaux going down 25-23 to Brive and Pau suffering a 29-33 home defeat to Toulon. 

Verdict: Bordeaux 2/13
I reckon Bordeaux will bounce back here. They have a handy side that is full of experienced campaigners.  

Bayonne v Lyon
Saturday 6 March
Stade Jean Dauger

To Win (80 Mins)
Bayonne 15/10
Draw 20/1
Lyon 57/100

The penultimate game of the weekend is yet another David vs Golliath affair as 13th-placed Bayonne will tackle seventh-placed Lyon. Both sides will be desperate for the win as the hosts are looking to get out of the relegation while Lyon are looking to entrench themselves in the 'Barrage' positions. 

Bayonne managed to stage something of a shock this past weekend as they beat highflyers Toulon 14-16 away from home. Lyon weren't involved in last week's fixtures but also head into this one off of an impressive win as they beat Toulouse 31-23 in Round 17. 

Verdict: Lyon 57/100
I reckon Bayonne's victory over Toulon was a flash in the pan and they'll get torn apart by Lyon. 

Toulon v Racing Metro
Sunday 7 March
Stade Mayol

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulon 17/10
Draw 18/1
Racing 5/10

The weekend will come to a close with what should be an absolute cracker as title chasers Toulon and Racing lock horns at the Stade Mayol. Both teams currently occupy lofty positions with Toulon sixth on the Top 14 ladder and Racing sitting in third. 

The hosts were on the wrong side of a major upset last weekend as they went down at home to minnows Bayonne. Racing weren't involved in the catch-up action with their latest result being a narrow 23-20 home win over Castres. 

Verdict: Racing 5/10
I feel Toulon will struggle against a Racing side that have been able to grind out a few narrow wins over the past couple of weeks. 

Written by Darry Worthington.

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