Top 14 Preview: Round 19

Date published: March 3 2017

The Top 14 will reach Round 19 this weekend with four matches taking place on Saturday and three on the schedule for Sunday.

Castres versus Clermont stands out on Saturday while co-leaders La Rochelle head to Toulouse in another vital round before the play-offs.

Fixtures

Saturday

Castres v Clermont
Bayonne v Pau
Grenoble v Racing 92
Brive v Toulon

Sunday

Lyon v Montpellier
Stade Français v Bordeaux-Bègles
Toulouse v La Rochelle

Castres vs Clermont
Stade Pierre Antoine

It's fourth against first in the league as the round starts at Stade Pierre Antoine with a mouth-watering tussle between two title hopefuls.

Castres have won six of their last eight games in a run that has seen them shoot up the standings, 11 points off this weekend's visitors.

They will be keen to make it three successive wins but face a Clermont side full of quality that hasn't lost a league game so far in 2017.

The teams:

Castres: TBC

Clermont: TBC

Last year's result: Clermont won 28-17
Kick-off: 14:45 local (13:45 GMT)
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz
Assistant Referees: Vivien Praderie, Bruno Gabaldon
TMO: Sébastien Minery


Grenoble vs Racing 92
Stade des Alpes

Three points off bottom spot, this is another key match for Grenoble as they face a Racing 92 side currently sitting in seventh position.

With just two wins in their last ten league games, the pressure is on Bernard Jackman's outfit, with more testing fixtures on the horizon.

Racing 92 have their own problems – both on and off the field at the moment – and need a win to keep their play-off hopes alive. Currently they are a point off Toulon and Pau but coming into the game on the back of successive league wins, they should be confident of prevailing.

The teams:

Grenoble: TBC

Racing 92: TBC

Last year's result: Racing 92 won 39-35
Kick-off: 18:30 local (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzère
Assistant Referees: Thierry Mallet, Thierry Guilloton
TMO: Eric Briquet Campin


Bayonne vs Pau
Stade Jean Dauger

Basement side Bayonne will be keen to put home field advantage to good effect on Saturday when they face Pau at Stade Jean Dauger.

Pau have been in superb shape of late, winning their last six games in the competition, and will surely back themselves to make it seven.

In contrast Bayonne have won just one of their last six but the prospect of overtaking Grenoble will drive them on in front of their support.

The teams:

Bayonne: TBC

Pau: TBC

Last year's result: N/A
Kick-off: 18:30 local (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Salem Attalah
Assistant Referees: Vincent Blasco Baque, Laurent Amic
TMO: Denis Grenouillet


Brive vs Toulon
Stade Amédée Domenech

The late fixture on Saturday sees tenth-placed Brive take on a Toulon outfit sitting fifth after a shaky run of results over recent rounds.

Mike Ford's men have not won back-to-back league matches since early November, which is the only time they have managed to do so this term. It is going to be difficult to end that hoodoo at Stade Amédée Domenech as Brive have won seven of their eight home games.

However hope for Toulon comes in the form of Brive having lost their last two while the visitors arrive on the back of defeating Lyon.

The teams:

Brive: TBC

Toulon: TBC

Last year's result: Brive won 29-26
Kick-off: 20:45 local (19:45 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès
Assistant Referees: Laurent Millotte, Jacques De Lemos
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure


Lyon vs Montpellier
Matmut Stadium

Montpellier need to stop a run of league form that's seen them struggle to back up results when they face Lyon on the road on Sunday.

Third-placed Montpol's recent record reads won, lost, won, lost, won and if they are to keep those chasing them at bay while pressuring the league leaders then they simply must follow up last week's win over Toulouse. Lose and Castres and Toulon could go above them.

Lyon meanwhile are sitting in twelfth after back-to-back wins at the turn of the year preceded successive losses in the recent games.

The teams:

Lyon: TBC

Montpellier: TBC

Last year's result: N/A
Kick-off: 12:30 local (11:30 GMT)
Referee: Laurent Cardona
Assistant Referees: Flavien Hourquet, Jean-Claude Labarbe
TMO: Cédric Marchat


Stade Français vs Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Jean Bouin

Eleventh takes on ninth in the Top 14 as two out of form sides, Stade Français and Bordeaux-Bègles, square off at Stade Jean Bouin.

Stade Français have lost four of their last five league matches while UBB are on a worse run, having gone down in five of their last six.

Bordeaux-Bègles' last win came on November 11 at home but still they remain just seven points off the top six places, meaning a change in form would give them a chance of pushing for the play-offs. Stade Français however are further off the play-offs, 12 points to be exact.

The teams:

Stade Français: TBC

Bordeaux-Bègles: TBC

Last year's result: Bordeaux-Bègles won 24-21
Kick-off: 17:00 local (16:00 GMT)
Referee: Adrien Descottes
Assistant Referees: Ludovic Cayre, Patrick Beuriot
TMO: Arnaud Blondel


Toulouse vs La Rochelle
Stade Ernest Wallon

No longer the surprise package of the Top 14, La Rochelle want to make another statement that they are the real deal, against Toulouse.

Sunday's game at Stade Ernest Wallon promises to be an entertaining one with La Rochelle arriving on the back of a five-game winning run in the league. In fact their last defeat came way back on November 19 when they lost to UBB, so they are full of confidence right now.

Their opponents this week are sitting in a disappointing eighth place and will be looking to avoid a third successive defeat in the league.

The teams:

Toulouse: TBC

La Rochelle: TBC

Last year's result: Toulouse won 39-22
Kick-off: 17:00 local (16:00 GMT)
Referee: Maxime Chalon
Assistant Referees: Nicolas Datas, Sébastien Hebert
TMO: Eric Gauzins


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