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French Top 14

French Top 14 – Round 22 Preview

Rugby fans are in for an absolute treat this weekend with round 22 of the Top 14 throwing up fixtures like Lyon and Clermont & Toulouse vs Racing.

Ma'a Nonu of Toulon - Top 14 Preview
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

With the knock-out phase of the tournament fast approaching, every game from now until the end of the season will be of vital importance.

Standings provided by SofaScore LiveScore

Lyon v Clermont

Saturday 24 April
Stade Gerland

To Win (80 Mins)

Lyon 6/10
Draw 18/1
Clermont 29/20

We kick things off at the Stade Gerland where sixth-placed Lyon taking on fourth-placed Clermont. The sides are only separated by seven ladder points and a win for either would go a long way to securing their spots in the play-offs.

Lyon had a poor time of it last weekend as they were swatted aside by an in-form La Rochelle outfit, who claimed a 38-23 win. Clermont didn’t take to the field last weekend as their game against Brive was called off. They had suffered a defeat in their last outing as they went down to Toulouse by nine points in the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Verdict: Lyon 6/10

I really think Lyon are due a change of fortune. They are a good side who just aren’t getting the rub of the green at the minute.

Toulon v Agen

Saturday 24 April
Stade Felix Mayol

To Win (80 Mins)

Toulon N/A
Draw 46/1
Agen 15/1

Seventh-placed Toulon will be looking to move deeper into the play-off spots when they take on tournament whipping boys, Agen, who are yet to win a game and have already had their relegation to the second tier of French rugby confirmed.
Both sides had their fixtures last week called off. Agen’s last game was a Challenge Cup fixture against Italian side Treviso. They carried their poor domestic form into this one as well going down 29-16.

Toulon haven’t kicked a ball in anger in almost a month as they had their Champions Cup fixture against Leinster called off due to COVID. Toulon were knocked out of the tournament with Leinster being awarded a 30-0 win. The last fixture they played was on the 28th of March, where they went down 54-16 to Lyon.

Verdict: Toulon

Toulon will be desperate to claim a bonus-point win here and I can see them doing that, and in the process clearing what is a rather large handicap.

Stade Francais v Pau

Saturday 24 April
Stade Jean Bouin

To Win (80 Mins)

Stade 2/7
Draw 22/1
Pau 29/10

Stade will be looking to move within striking distance of the Barrage places by getting a win over a Pau side who are slogging it out in a relegation battle.
The hosts have had a tough time of it of late and have only managed to register three wins from their last ten games. They head into Saturday’s fixture having not played a game since late March, and they may well be rusty here.

Pau has also had a tough time of it over the past few months losing four games on the trot before they managed to register a 43-33 win over Bayonne this past weekend.

Verdict: Pau 29/10

I actually think Pau may well catch their hosts cold here. I’ll be having a small bet on the away side to cause an upset this Saturday.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Toulouse v Racing Metro

Saturday 24 April
Stade Ernest-Wallon

To Win (80 Mins)

Toulouse 31/100
Draw 22/1
Racing 26/10

The headline clash of the weekend is up next with ladder-leading Toulouse playing host to third-placed Racing. Eight points separate the sides on the Top 14 ladder and Racing really need to bag a win here if they are to Challenge for second or first place before the regular season comes to a close.

Racing enjoyed a week off as their fixture against Stade was called off. Toulouse, on the other hand, were in the thick of it as they suffered an upset defeat going down 26-24 to Pau. They were to claiming a famous come-from-behind victory as two late tries saw them come right back into the game.

Verdict: Toulouse 31/100

Toulouse rested some big guns last week and came up short. I can see the return of their star men bringing about a solid win over Racing.

Bordeaux Begles v Montpellier

Sunday 25 April
Satde Chaban-Delmas

To Win (80 Mins) TBA


Semi-final hunting Bordeaux will be looking to push Montpellier right back into a relegation battle when the two sides lock horns in the weekend’s final fixture. The hosts currently sit fifth on the log while Montpellier are all the way down in 11th spot.

Both teams had their fixtures called off last weekend but they had been involved in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals so they won’t be as rusty as some of the other sides taking to the field this weekend.

The visitors have actually found a great patch of form late on in the season and come into this one having won four of their last five Top 14 fixtures as well as their two Challenge Cup play off games. Bordeaux have been more patchy on the domestic front losing two of their last three Top 14 games.

Verdict: Montpellier 

I sense an upset here. Montpellier are really ending their season on a high and I reckon their impressive run of results will continue. Small stakes, however, as they are a side that can capitulate at any given moment.

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