Preview: Top 14, Round 20

Date published: March 10 2017

The Top 14 will reach Round 20 this weekend and there are five matches on the schedule for Saturday and two taking place on Sunday.

Tabletoppers La Rochelle head to Paris on Saturday where they face defending champions Racing 92 and second-placed Clermont host fourth-placed Montpellier on Sunday.

Fixtures

Saturday

Bordeaux-Bègles v Grenoble
Lyon v Stade Français
Toulon v Bayonne
Brive v Toulouse
Racing 92 v La Rochelle

Sunday

Pau v Castres
Clermont v Montpellier


Bordeaux-Bègles v Grenoble
Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux

After an encouraging start to their campaign, Bordeaux-Bègles are a team on the slide at the moment and are winless in their past six matches.

Their best result during that period was a 23-23 draw at home with Clermont in Round 17 and they are currently in 10th position in the standings and must return to the victory trail if they want to make the play-offs as they are five points behind sixth-placed Toulon.

Grenoble are just so desperate for a win as they are still second from bottom on the table, 10 points adrift of 12th placed Lyon. With seven rounds left before the play-offs, they cannot afford another defeat if they want to avoid relegation.

The teams:

Bordeaux-Bègles: tbc

Grenoble: tbc

Last year’s result: Bordeaux-Bègles won 25-19
Kick-off: 19:30 local (18:30 GMT)
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz
Assistant Referees: Mathieu Delpy, Jean-Luc Rebollal
TMO: Laurent Sclafer


Lyon v Stade Français
Matmut Stadium, Lyon

This fixture sees the tournament’s 12th placed side hosting the team who are just one place above them on the table, with just two points separating them.

That means there will be plenty at stake and if Grenoble manage to pull off a win at Bordeaux-Bègles, they will close the gap in the standings on the losing side in this fixture.

Both sides will approach this match with some confidence after impressive home victories last weekend. Lyon claimed a fine home win over high-riding Montpellier and Stade also impressed with a convincing win  in their own backyard agsainst UBB.

The teams:

Lyon: tbc

Stade Français: tbc

Last year’s result: N/A
Kick-off: 19:30 local (18:30 GMT)
Referee: Tual Trainini
Assistant Referees: Luc Ramos, Akim Hadj Bachir
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure


Toulon v Bayonne
Stade Mayol, Toulon

Toulon will be hoping to make a statement of intent against the competition’s bottom-placed team in a bid to strengthen their play-off hopes.

Mike Ford’s side are currently in sixth position on the table but are just six points behind third-placed Castres and a bonus-point win in this fixture could see them consolidate their position in the standings.

Despite being basement dwellers, Bayonne delivered a competitive performance in a 25-25 draw against Pau last weekend but that was a home fixture and they will have to play out of their skins if they want to beat Toulon.

The teams:

Toulon: tbc

Bayonne: tbc

Last year’s result: N/A
Kick-off: 19:30 local (18:30 GMT)
Referee: Maxime Chalon
Assistant Referees: Laurent Cardona, Eric Soulan
TMO: Denis Grenouillet


Brive v Toulouse
Stade Amédée Domenech, Brive

Both these sides still have play-off ambitions and like Lyon and Stade Français just one place – and two points – separate them in the standings with Toulouse currently in eighth place and Brive in ninth position.

Brive head into this clash with some confidence after beating Toulon last weekend and will fancy their chances against Toulouse who head into this clash in poor form after losing their last three matches.

Both sides will be hoping Racing 92, who are their closest play-off rivals, slip up against tournament pacesetters La Rochelle.

The teams:

Brive: tbc

Toulouse: tbc

Last year’s result: The teams drew 21-21
Kick-off: 20:00 local (19:00 GMT)
Referee: Sébastien Minery
Assistant Referees: Adrien Descottes, Bruno Gabaldon
TMO: Patrick Péchambert


Racing 92 v La Rochelle
Stade Yves Du Manoir, Colombes

Racing might be at home but they face a difficult task against the Top 14’s in-form team La Rochelle who are sitting pretty at the top of the table, four points ahead of their closest rivals Clermont.

La Rochelle are currently on a seven-match unbeaten run with their last loss registered in Round 12 when were beaten 26-0 at UBB.

Racing, by contrast, have not played like champions and go into this clash after losing at lowly Grenoble in Round 19.

The teams:

Racing 92: tbc

La Rochelle: tbc

Last year’s result: The teams drew 21-21
Kick-off: 22:00 local (21:00 GMT)
Referee: Cédric Marchat
Assistant Referees: Stéphane Boyer, Laurent Breil
TMO: Arnaud Blondel


Pau v Castres
Stade du Hameau, Pau

Two of the competition’s form sides go head-to-head when fifth-placed Pau host third-placed Castres in what should be an entertaining encounter

Pau are unbeaten in their last seven matches but will be hoping to return to their winning ways after they were held to a surprising draw at bottom-placed Bayonne last week.

Castres, meanwhile are brimming with confidence after registering an impressive home victory against Clermont in their previous fixture.

The teams:

Pau: tbc

Castres: tbc

Last year’s result: Pau won 21-16
Kick-off: 13:30 local (12:30 GMT)
Referee: Thomas Charabas
Assistant Referees: Mathieu Noirot, Jacques De Lemos
TMO: Jean-Marie Piraveau


Clermont v Montpellier
Parc Sports Marcel Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand

Clermont will be determined to bounce back from that defeat to Castres when they take on Montpellier who are also smarting their loss at Lyon in Round 19.

That loss had dire consequences for Clermont as they surrendered top spot in the standings to La Rochelle and it was also les Jaunards‘ second defeat from their last five matches.

Montpellier have been very inconsistent of late, having won three and lost the same number of matches from their last six matches but will draw inspiration from the fact that they won the corresponding fixture last season.

The teams:

Clermont: tbc

Montpellier: tbc

Last year’s result: Montpellier won 19-15
Kick-off: 13:30 local (12:30 GMT)
Referee: Salem Attalah
Assistant Referees: Ludovic Cayre, Thierry Guilloton
TMO: Eric Briquet Campin


COMMENTS