Top 14 Preview: Round 21

Date published: March 17 2017

The games involving Racing 92 and Stade Français have been called off in the Top 14 on Saturday following the recent news of a merger.

Therefore the focus shifts to league leaders La Rochelle, who host Brive, while second-placed Clermont welcome Pau to Stade Marcel Michelin.

Fixtures

Bayonne vs Bordeaux-Bègles
Castres vs Stade Français (Called off)
Clermont vs Pau
La Rochelle vs Brive
Montpellier vs Racing 92 (Called off)

Sunday

Toulouse v Lyon
Grenoble vs Toulon

Bayonne vs Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Jean Dauger

Fourteenth takes on eighth in the Top 14 on Saturday, with Bayonne hosting a Bordeaux-Bègles side that has had a busy week off the field.

UBB announced on Tuesday that head coach Raphaël Ibanez will leave the club at the end of the season, ending a five-year spell in charge.

His team will want to give him an immediate response at Stade Jean Dauger against a Bayonne side that lost 82-14 at Toulon last weekend.

Bordeaux-Bègles enter this match on the back of a 46-14 home victory over struggling Grenoble and are still in the hunt for the top six.

Last year's result: Did not play
Kick-off: 18:30 local (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Juan Sylvestre (Argentina)
Assistant Referees: Christine Hanizet, Bruno Gabaldon
TMO: Eric Briquet Campin


Clermont vs Pau
Parc Sports Marcel Michelin

Clermont will be desperate to bounce back after last week's home defeat to Montpellier when they host Pau at Parc Sports Marcel Michelin.

That result gave La Rochelle breathing space at the summit but surely les Jaunards will have enough quality to claim the win on Saturday.

Pau are not to be underestimated though as last week's victory over Castres proved, with Tom Taylor's kicking vital to their performance.

Clermont remember are still without France call-ups Camille Lopez, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Damien Chouly, Rémi Lamerat and Noa Nakaitaci.

Last year's result: Clermont won 35-10
Kick-off: 18:30 local (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Maxime Chalon
Assistant Referees: Thierry Mallet, Sébastien Hebert
TMO: Laurent Sclafer


La Rochelle vs Brive
Stade Marcel Deflandre

Eight points clear in the Top 14 table, La Rochelle must be pinching themselves ahead of facing off with Brive at Stade Marcel Deflandre.

This week it was confirmed that All Black scrum-half would be joining them next season, with his arrival set to only add to their arsenal.

It is expected that second-placed Clermont will overcome Pau so beating Brive is vital for La Rochelle if they want to keep this cushion.

Brive are currently ninth in the standings and come into this match on the back of an impressive 21-19 home win over Toulouse last week.

Last year's result: La Rochelle won 21-18
Kick-off: 18:30 local (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz
Assistant Referees: Cédric Clave, Patrick Beuriot
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure


Toulouse vs Lyon
Stade Ernest Wallon

On the back of losing at Brive, Toulouse desperately need a victory over Lyon on Sunday if they're to keep in the hunt for the play-offs.

The loss leaves them a worrying eight points off sixth-placed Toulon while Lyon are only two points behind their hosts ahead of kick-off.

Still without Cyril Baille, Yoann Maestri, Gaël Fickou and Yoann Huget, Toulouse are missing their strike-power but are still priced as heavy favourites with the bookmakers to get the job done on home soil. In truth they should do so with ample quality still in their XV.

Last year's result: Did not play
Kick-off: 12:30 local (11:30 GMT)
Referee: Salem Attalah
Assistant Referees: Jonathan Dufort, Thierry Guilloton
TMO: Jean-Marie Piraveau


Grenoble vs Toulon
Stade des Alpes

The round's final match comes from Stade des Alpes where another coaching casualty occurred this week, as Bernard Jackman left the club.

Apparently the former Ireland international has been replaced by assistants Aaron Dundon and Mike Prendergast until the end of 2016/17.

It's worrying for Grenoble that they meet a side with their tails up after Toulon thumped Bayonne last week so it could be a tough game.

Toulon are currently in sixth spot, level on points with Castres with fourth-placed Pau and Montpellier (third) within touching distance.

Last year's result: Grenoble won 33-29
Kick-off: 17:00 local (16:00 GMT)
Referee: Adrien Descottes
Assistant Referees: Ludovic Cayre, Akim Hadj Bachir
TMO: Arnaud Blondel

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