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French Top 14

French Top 14: Round 2 Preview

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Darry Worthington takes a look at the second set of Top 14 fixtures for the 2020/21 season, which get underway on Friday the 11th of September.

Image copyright – Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

It wasn’t a bad old start to the new Top 14 season for yours truly as the majority of my tips materialised including a decent priced 14/10 on a Racing win over Lyon. Here’s hoping that form continues as we have into Round 2. 

Pau v Agen
Friday 11 September
Stade du Hameau

To Win (80 Mins)
Pau 3/10
Draw 20/1
Agen 26/10

Pau and Agen will kick things at the Stade Hameau this coming Friday. The two sides experienced contrasting fortunes in the opening week with Agen going down 22-26 to Castres while Pau produced something of an upset in beating Montpellier 23-26.

Pau have been the dominate force when the sides have met recently with the visitors winning four of the last five games between the sides. Agen’s sole victory, in this run, came back in April 2018.

Verdict: Pau 3/10
I was actually rather surprised with home good they looked last weekend and if they put in a similar performance they are unlikely to be troubled by Agen.

Racing Metro 92 v Montpellier
Friday 11 September

Paris La Defense Arena

To Win (80 Mins)
Racing 1/4
Draw 20/1
Montpellier 28/10

Racing Metro will be looking to build on their 23-27 opening-round victory over Lyon when they take a Montpellier side that will be smarting after going down to Pau by three points.

Racing will be looking for another solid showing from Scottish international, Finn Russel, who managed to bag a try in a solid second-half showing.

The hosts have a massive psychological advantage headed into this one having won four of the last five games between the sides. Games between these two sides tend to be rather high-scoring with the last two encounters seeing more than 49 points scored in each.

Verdict: Racing 1/4

My main strike will be on the overs points markets which I’ll climb into once Live In-Play betting opens up. If you’re looking for an ante-post bet, then chucking Racing into a couple multis is the way to go. 

Toulouse v La Rochelle
Saturday 12 September
Stade Ernest-Wallon

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulouse 1/12
Draw 33/1
La Rochelle 6/1

Toulouse and La Rochelle will open up Saturday’s action when they square off at the Stade Ernest-Wallon. 

The hosts got their season underway to a rather disappointing start as they went down 33-30 to Clermont. They were really unfortunate to lose that game, and had they had a bit more prep time – they had a number of pre-season games called off due to COVID – they probably would have won the fixture. 

La Rochelle enjoyed a far more positive start to the season as they comfortably beat Toulon 29-15.

Verdict: Toulouse 1/12

The men from Toulouse have won four of the last four games between the sides and I can see them making it five from six here.

Bayonne v Clermont
Saturday 12 September

Stade Jean-Dauger

To Win (80 Mins)
Bayonne 17/10
Draw 18/1
Clermont 9/20

Next up we have minnows Bayonne taking on big guns Clermont. The hosts had a tough time of it last week as they were easily beaten 42-23 by a decent but not spectacular Brive side.

Clermont, on the other hand, enjoyed a magnificent start to the season as they held on for a 33-30 victory over fellow big guns, Toulouse.

In terms of head to head results between the sides, Clermont have won three of the last five fixtures with Bayonne winning 2014 and 2016. The last fixture between the duo saw Clermont run out 30-34 victors.  

Verdict: Clermont 9/20
I’m, expecting a lot of points here which is why my main plays will be on the over points markets. I’ll also be putting Clermont into a couple rugby multiples.

Jockeys Ride Horses
Bordeaux Beagles v CA Brive

Saturday 12 September
Stade Chaban-Delmas

To Win (80 Mins)
Bordeaux 1/16
Draw 33/1
Brive 13/2

Bordeaux and Brive will square off in Saturday’s final instalment. Bordeaux were unable to play last week as their scheduled game with Stade Francois was called off due to a handful of Stade players testing positive for COVID-19. They were the form side before last season was cancelled, however, and sat top of the pops. 

Brive’s game went ahead last weekend and they managed to register a big 42-23 victory over a plucky Bayonne side.

Verdict: Bordeaux 1/16
I’m expecting the Beagles to pick up from where they left off last season and open their campaign with a big win.

Castres v Stade Francais
Sunday 13 September

Stade Pierre-Fabre

To Win (80 Mins)
Castres 3/10
Draw 20/1
Stade 26/10
Castres and Stade will play the penultimate game of Round 2 with the two sides set to lock horns at the Stade Pierre Fabre in Sunday’s opener.

The visitors – as noted in the Bordeaux preview – were unable to play in the opening week as they’ve had a number of players contract the Coronavirus. And while Sunday’s game is yet to be cancelled, there’s still a big possibility that it will be called off later in the week.

Castres got their season off to a positive start as they beat Agen 22-26 away from home. 

Verdict: Castres 3/10
If this game goes ahead I cannot see anything but a big Castres win. Stade have had little time to prepare for the season due to COVID concerns and they’re likely to come in extremely rusty.

Toulon  v Lyon
Sunday 13 September

Stade Mayol

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulon 4/10
Draw 20/1
Lyon 19/10

Toulon will be looking to bounce back from their opening day 29-15 defeat to La Rochelle when they take on a Lyon side that went down 23-27 to Racing Metro in Round 1. 
Recent form favours Lyon who have won the last three games between the sides with one of the other two fixtures ending in a draw.

One of Toulon’s old boys, Mathieu Basteraud, will make a return to his old stomping ground this weekend although he will be wearing the number eight jersey as opposed the number 12 jersey he wore for so long at Toulon. 
Verdict: Lyon 19/10
I’m backing the upset here. I will keep my stake very small, however.

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