Planet Rugby

Top 14 Preview: Round 21

28th February 2014 09:58

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Perpignan players celebrate their victory 19 18 over toulouse

History: Perpignan won in Toulouse last year

Toulouse find themselves sitting outside the play-offs zone as they host Perpignan on Saturday before a high-stakes Basque derby on Sunday.

The top two are on the road this weekend as Stade Français kick the action off in Montpellier while Clermont travel to Bordeaux.

Toulon will expect to continue to climb up the standings with a home fixture against lowly Oyonnax.

Up in the capital, Racing Métro and Castres go head to head in the race for a place in the top six.

Fixtures:

Friday, February 28
Montpellier v Stade Français

Saturday, March 1
Bordeaux-Bègles v Clermont
Brive v Grenoble
Racing Métro v Castres
Toulon v Oyonnax
Toulouse v Perpignan

Sunday, March 2
Biarritz v Bayonne

Standings


Previews:

Union Bordeaux-Bègles v ASM Clermont Auvergne
Stade Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux

Unbeaten in seven games at home this last September, UBB host the league leaders hoping to secure the four points that should be enough to step clear of the relegation scrap.

Clermont haven't been great on the road this season, losing seven times in 10 games, including their last three.

However, les Jaunards have never lost to UBB in nine games in the professional era and have won on their last three visits to the Gironde region.

Result in Round Eight: Clermont won 40-11
Kick-off: 14:55 (13.55)
Referee: Cédric Marchat


CA Brive-Corrèze v Grenoble
Stade Amédée-Domenech, Brive-la-Gaillarde

Brive have been in good form of late, winning three out of four games before coming unstuck in Perpignan last week and missing out on an opportunity to pull clear of the relegation battle in the process.

The hosts have come out on top in their last four home games - losing just once on home soil all season - so they will fancy their chances against a Grenoble side that were shocked by Biarritz last week.

Sixth-placed Grenoble have won just once in 12 visits to Brive - back in 1981 - but with Toulouse and Racing breathing down their necks for the final spot in the play-offs, Fabrice Landreau's side won't be short on motivation.

Result in Round Eight: 12-12 draw
Kick-off: 18:30 (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzère


Racing Métro 92 v Castres Olympique
Stade Yves Du Manoir - Colombes (Paris)

Lying in eighth place, two points short of the play-off places, Racing cannot afford to drop points at home but face a very tough task against the defending champions.

Racing had lost just once in seven games before stumbling on the road in Bordeaux-Bègles last week and will be looking to recapture the form that put them back into contention. The Parisians have won nine of their 10 home games this term.

Castres, meanwhile, have travelled poorly, claiming just one win on the road this season. The champs have not tasted success in Colombes since 1999.

Result in Round Eight: Castres won 19-15
Kick-off: 18:30 (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès


Rugby Club Toulonnais v Oyonnax
Stade Felix Mayol, Toulon

Having been embarrassed in Oyonnax earlier this season, Toulon will have a point to prove as they host the relegation-threatened minnows on Saturday.

The European champs seem to be on an upward curve having finally claimed an away win last week in Bayonne as Jonny Wilkinson celebrated his 100th game for the club by scoring all the points.

With the leading duo travelling this week, fourth-placed Toulon will know a bonus-point win will take them close to the summit of the standings. But they will have to make do without Juan Smith, who has a hamstring injury.

Oyonnax have yet to win away from home this season but came painfully close to upsetting Stade Français in Paris last week.

Result in Round Eight: Oyonnax won 25-22
Kick-off: 18:30 (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz


Stade Toulousain v USA Perpignan
Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse

Toulouse have zero room for error as they host their bogey team. Indeed, Toulouse have lost their last five games against Perpignan in all competitions!

Threatened with the prospect of missing the play-offs for the first time in the professional era, Guy Novès' side must get the job done this weekend.

But after victory in Biarritz and having pushed Castres close last week, Toulouse look to be regaining some form. They are also set to welcome back former All Black playmaker Luke McAlister.

Perpignan are coming off the back off a solid win over Brive that finally gave them some room to breathe. Still very much in the battle to avoid relegation, the Catalans will be happy to claim even a losing bonus points this weekend.

USAP won 19-18 in Toulouse lasy year, but that was their first win in the Ville Rose in 21 post-war matches.

Result in Round Eight: Perpignan won 20-16
Kick-off: 18.35 (17.35 GMT)
Referee: Salem Attalah


Biarritz Olympique v Aviron Bayonnais
Parc des Sports d'Aguilera, Biarritz

The weekend's action will climax on Sunday with a nail-biting Basque derby in Biarritz.

Relegation hangs over both clubs with Bayonne, third from bottom but having played two more games than Oyonnax, somewhat better off than tail-enders Biarritz, who are 18 points off safety.

Indeed, Biarritz look set to face the drop but have made the Basque derby their number one priority. And having claimed a shock win in Grenoble last week, the team in red finally have some confidence and momentum.

Biarritz's home form has been shocking this season, winning just three times and losing their last three.

But form elsewhere counts for nothing in Basque derbies. Bayonne have won two of the last three, with one draw.

Result in Round Eight: Bayonne won 27-19
Kick-off: 15:00 (14.00 GMT) on Sunday
Referee: Mathieu Raynal

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
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Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
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South Africa vs Australia16:05
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Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
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Zebre vs Ulster15:00
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Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
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Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
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Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
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Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
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ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
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Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
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Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
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Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
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ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
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Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39