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French Top 14

PREVIEW: Top 14 closes out 2021 with 7 clashes

The Top 14 offers a festive feast with a number of top-class clashes set to be played between Sunday and Monday.

Leone Nakarawa of Toulon - French Top 14
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The Top 14 offers a festive feast with a number of top-class clashes set to be played between Sunday and Monday.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Sunday 26 December

Perpignan 81/100 | Draw 22/1 | Castres 21/20 (17:00)

We kick things off with a Boxing Day clash between Perpignan and Castres. The hosts currently lie 13th on the log standings having only recorded four wins from their opening 12 games. Castres lie in sixth spot having won six games and drawn one.

Both teams were involved in European action over the past fortnight with Perpignan beating URC side, the Dragons, 22-16 while Castres went down 18-20 to Harlequins and followed that up with a 19-13 loss to Munster.

Castres, despite suffering two defeats, looked pretty good during their Champions Cup fixtures and I reckon they’ve got enough about them to get a win here.

Brive 11/20 | Draw 20/1 | Clermont 16/10 (19:00)

Brive and Clermont are next up on the Boxing Day fixtures list and this game, while early in the season still, will still be pretty important as both teams haven’t really gotten off to a flying start with Crive n 12th place having only won four of their domestic fixtures while Clermont are in seventh and have registered six wins from 12 games.

Clermont head into this one off the back of a six-point home defeat to URC side Ulster while Brive didn’t get on the field. Clermont are looking to end a poor run of form and I can see them doing just that.

Toulouse 1/20 | Draw 38/1 | Stade 17/2 (22:05)

Next up we’ve got a battle of two of the Top 14’s traditional powerhouses with Toulouse taking on Stade. The hosts have been as solid as winning nine of their 12 fixtures. They currently reside in second place on the log and are two points behind log-leaders Bordeaux.

Stade have endured a far more patchy start to their season and currently lie in tenth with five wins from their 12 games.

In terms of their most recent results, the hosts fared well enough in the Champions Cup beating a second-string Cardiff 7-39. They were unable to play their second Champions Cup fixture due to the French government closing the borders. Stade also only had one European outing and it’s one they’ll want to forget having gone down 36-9 to Connacht.

The hosts are a quality side and should have no problem taking this one.

Monday 27 December 

Racing 1/16 | Draw 33/1 | Pau 8/1 (20:00)

It’s off to Paris for our next fixture which sees Racing 92 play host to Pau.
The hosts have been pretty hit and miss this season and have only won half of their 12 fixtures while Pau have won five and drawn one.

Racing had a solid time of it in the Champions Cup hammering Northampton 14-45 before having to head home, while Pau weren’t in action.

The hosts should be far too strong in Paris for Pau.

Biarritz 93/100 | Draw 22/1 | Montpellier 93/100 (20:00)

Next up it’s league new boys Biarritz taking on old hands Montpellier. The hosts have endured a tough old return to the French top tier and currently reside at the foot of the ladder with four wins from 12 games. 

Montpellier have fared better this term and currently sit in third place on the standings having won seven and drawn one of their 12.

Despite a poor outing in the Champions Cup, I still am all over Montpellier here. They look a much more composed outfit this term and I reckon they’ve got enough about them to take the win away from home.

La Rochelle 21/100 | Draw 25/1 | Lyon 36/10 (20:00)

The penultimate match of Round 13 sees La Rochelle and Lyon do battle. This should be a cracker of a game with both sides producing some solid attacking rugby at times.

The hosts currently sit fifth on the Top 14 ladder. They had a decent time in Europe beating Glasgow 20-13. Lyon have also enjoyed a decent start to their campaign and sit fourth on the Top 14 ladder. They also head into this one off the back of consecutive Challenge Cup wins beating the Dragons and Gloucester.

I was highly impressed with them in Europe and I’m backing them to keep the good results coming.

Toulon 9/20 | Draw 20/1 | Bordeaux 19/10 (22:05)

Toulon and log-leaders Bordeaux will bring the curtain down on Round 13. The hosts have been as hit-and-miss as ever this season winning four and drawing two while losing six. Bordeaux have fared much better winning nine and drawing one of their ten games.

Both teams were involved in European action with Toulon beating Zebre 28-14 while Bordeaux went down 13-16 to the Leicester Tigers.

I fancy the away team here and at 19/10, they offer really good value.

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