Preview: Top 14, Round 24

Date published: April 14 2017

The Top 14 will hit Round 24 this weekend and there are five games on the schedule for Saturday and two taking place on Sunday.

Fourth-placed Toulon host Castres, who are one place below them in the standings, on Saturday with tabletoppers La Rochelle heading to Lyon on the same day and Montpellier host already relegated Bayonne on Sunday.

Fixtures

Saturday

Toulon v Castres
Brive v Bordeaux-Bègles
Grenoble v Clermont
Stade Français v Pau
Lyon v La Rochelle

Sunday

Montpellier v Bayonne
Toulouse v Racing 92

Toulon v Castres
Stade Félix Mayol, Toulon

With the play-off race hotting up, both these sides know the importance of victory at this crucial juncture in the season.

Toulon are four points ahead of Castres but will fancy their chances at home against their visitors who have lost their last three Top 14 matches against Pau, Grenoble and Lyon.

The home side meanwhile, have been very inconsistent of late. Their last three matches saw them drawing at Grenoble, before suffering an away loss to Stade Français, but they bounced back with a home win over Toulouse last weekend.

Last year’s result: Toulon won 17-7
Kick-off: 14:45 local (12:45 GMT)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal
Assistant Referees: Jonathan Dufort, Sébastien Hebert
TMO: Arnaud Blondel


Brive v Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Amedee-Domenech, Brive

Both these sides can still reach the play-offs although Brive will start this match as favourites as they have been in better form in the Top 14 in recent weeks.

The home side are on a high after claiming a shock 26-21 victory away at Clermont and prior to that, they registered a morale-boosting 28-25 win at home against Montpellier.

UBB have been very inconsistent of late, winning two and losing three of their last five matches with their most recent fixture being a 16-5 defeat at table-toppers La Rochelle last week.

Last year’s result: Brive won 16-3
Kick-off: 18:30 local (16:30 GMT)
Referee: Laurent Cardona
Assistant Referees: Nicolas Datas, Laurent Breil
TMO: Eric Briquet Campin


Grenoble v Clermont
Stade des Alpes, Grenoble

The home side face a daunting task and know a win is imperative if they want to avoid relegation but at the same time they will be hoping for Stade Français and Toulouse their fixtures.

Grenoble head into this clash low on confidence after suffering a demoralising 54–14 defeat at Montpellier last weekend but Clermont are not playing well either.

Les Jaunards are on a two-match losing streak which includes a shock 26-21 home defeat to Brive last weekend.

Last year’s result: Clermont won 45-12
Kick-off: 18:30 local (16:30 GMT)
Referee: Thomas Charabas
Assistant Referees: Jonathan Gasnier, Thomas Déjean
TMO: Laurent Sclafer


Stade Français v Pau
Stade Jean Bouin, Paris

Stade Français will be hoping to move clear of the relegation zone and will fancy their chances against Pau, who have battled away from home in their recent matches.

Stade will be brimming with confidence as they beat Toulon and Bayonne in their two previous matches.

Pau, meanwhile, are still chasing a play-off place but they are in the midst of a poor run of form having lost their last three fixtures against Racing 92, La Rochelle and Clermont repsectively.

Last year’s result: Stade Français won 34-18
Kick-off: 18:30 local (16:30 GMT)
Referee: Tual Trainini
Assistant Referees: Vivien Praderie, Bruno Gabaldon
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure


Lyon vs La Rochelle
Matmut Stadium, Lyon

La Rochelle’s amazing season continues and this trip to Matmut Stadium is again winnable as they look for an eleventh straight victory.

They truly have been superb his season and currently sit 14 points above Clermont at the summit with Montpellier a further four behind.

Lyon meanhwhile are still very much in the hunt for the top six after putting together back-to-back wins in the league, their most recent being on the road at Castres in a result that will have made La Rochelle wary ahead of this one.

Last year’s result: Did not play
Kick-off: 20:45 local (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Maxime Chalon
Assistant Referees: Mathieu Delpy, Akim Hadj Bachir
TMO: Denis Grenouillet


Montpellier v Bayonne
Altrad Stadium, Montpellier

Surely Montpellier will make it back-to-back victories for the first time since December 2016 when they host Bayonne at Altrad Stadium.

Their inconsistent performances have seen them slide further and further away from La Rochelle at the top of the pile but lucky for them those behind them have also been hot and cold, meaning they remain in third position.

This is the first of three home matches from their final four regular-season games so a strong finish is a must for Montpol, who will be too strong for a struggling Bayonne side that’s leaked 84 points in their last two outings.

Last year’s result: Did not play
Kick-off: 12:30 local (10:30 GMT)
Referee: Sébastien Cloute
Assistant Referees: Pierre Brousset, Jean-Claude Labarbe
TMO: Sébastien Minery


Toulouse v Racing 92
Stade Municipal, Toulouse

The final Round 24 game comes from Stade Municipal where an out of form Toulouse host a Racing side eyeing a third straight success.

Home victories over Clermont and Pau have seen them close in on the top four places and they will fancy their chances against a Toulouse side that has won just one of their last seven fixtures. They currently sit twelfth.

Luckily for Toulouse they have a 14 point buffer over the two sides below them in the table as they play for pride in their closing games.

Last year’s result: Toulouse won 14-3
Kick-off: 17:00 local (15:00 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzère
Assistant Referees: Luc Ramos, Jacques De Lemos
TMO: Jean-Marie Piraveau

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