Planet Rugby

Top 14 Preview: Round 10

25th October 2013 16:39

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Racing Metro Fidji s number eight Masi Matadigo v Stade Fran ais

Parisian derby: Racing v Stade Francais

Springbok fly-half Morne Steyn is set to make his debut for Stade Français in the Paris derby against Racing Métro at the Stade de France on Saturday.

With just seven point separating the top 11 clubs, Toulon's trip to Toulouse is set to shake things up at the top of the table while Castres will expect to keep Biarritz rooted to the bottom.

Grenoble should be good enough for a home win over Oyonnax while Perpignan will want to continue the strong form shown in Europe as they host Bordeaux-Bègles.

Brive are unlikely to end Clermont's 65-game unbeaten streak on home soil.

Fixtures:

Friday, October 25
Bayonne v Montpellier

Saturday, October 26
Toulouse v Toulon
Castres v Biarritz
Clermont v Brive
Grenoble v

Oyonnax
Perpignan v Bordeaux-Bègles
Racing Métro v Stade Français

Previews:

Castres Olympique v Biarritz Olympique
Stade Pierre Antoine, Castres

Biarritz face a daunting challenge as they visit the champions.

The struggling Basque side are rooted to the foot of the table, and with eight points separating them and second-bottom Bayonne, even an unlikely victory would not lift them from last place.

Castres, meanwhile, have still to string together back-to-back victories, and succumbed to a heavy 34-0 defeat to Brive when last on Top 14 duty.

Languishing in 11th place, Castres go into the fixture in the wake of a narrow Heineken Cup loss to Leinster at the RDS Arena, and will be eyeing this weekend's clash as a big chance to close the gap on the pacesetters.

Having played just one game so far this season, Imanol Harinordoquy is set to make his long-awaited return from injury for Biarritz.

Results last season: Castres 28-13 Biarritz; Biarritz 15-9 Castres
Prediction: No upsets here. Castres by nine points
Kick-off: 18:30 (16.30 GMT)
Referee: Cyril Lafon


ASM Clermont Auvergne v CA Brive-Corrèze
Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin, Clermont Ferrand

Clermont look set to extend their formidable unbeaten home run at fortress Michelin in this derby. Brive have not won in Clermont for 10 years!

Since 2003, Clermont have managed to score at least 33 points every time Brive have visited so will fancy their chances of improving upon their current fifth-place league position.

The hosts head into the Top 14 clash off the back of a 23-16 Heineken Cup victory over English outfit Harlequins - a game they will feel could and should have been won more comfortably.

It was a similar story a week earlier, where in their opening European pool match, they succumbed narrowly to Racing Metro, despite creating a plethora of scoring chances.

Brive, meanwhile, thumped champions Castres in their last domestic outing, with an impressive scoreline of 34-0.

Their Amlin Challenge Cup exploits resulted in a draw away to Italian side Calvisano, and a good home win over Newcastle Falcons.

True to French form, however, their troubles have come on the road, where they have been yet to record a victory. Their only away points were gained thanks to a 12-12 draw with Grenoble, and a sixty-point hammering at the hands of Toulon may serve as something of an omen for Saturday's game.

Previous result: Clermont 57-14 Brive (2012)
Prediction: No mystery here. Clermont to win with a bonus point
Kick-off: 18:30 (16.30 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite


FC Grenoble v US Oyonnax
Stade Lesdiguières, Grenoble

Grenoble have been nearly unbeatable on home soil and will expect to get the job done against a team that does not travel well.

Expect plenty of yellow cards from the league's two most indisciplined sides! Grenoble have conceded 16 already (including two reds) while Oyonnax players have seen yellow 12 times.

This is the first time these teams have met in the Top 14. Their last 'top division' clash dates back to 1946.

France Sevens international Rida Jahouer will make his first Top 14 start for Grenoble at centre. James Hart wil continue at scrum-half while Julien Caminati returns from suspension.

Previous result: Grenoble 24 - 9 Oyonnax (ProD2, 2012)
Prediction: Home win. Grenoble to win by ten points
Kick-off: 18:30 (16.30 GMT)
Referee: Patrick Pechambert


USA Perpignan v Union Bordeaux-Bègles
Stade Aimé Giral, Perpignan

Bordeaux-Bègles are one of seven clubs yet to win away from home this season and the Catalan coastline is unlikely to be the place to start.

Just three points off the lead, Perpignan have made an encouraging start to the season both domestically and in Europe.

Since 1950, USAP have won all 17 of their matches against Bordeaux-Bègles.

The visitors have announced the signature of Argentina international full-back Joaquin Tuculet as an injury replacement for Bruce Reihana.

Keep an eye on Perpignan wing Sofiane Guitoune, who is the league's top try-scorer with six.

Results last season: Perpignan 26-16 Bordeaux; Bordeaux 26-22 Perpignan
Prediction: Home win. Perpignan by ten points.
Kick-off: 18:30 (16.30 GMT)
Referee: Cédric Marchat


Racing Métro 92 v Stade Français Paris
Stade de France, St. Denis (Paris)

No lack of history here as the oldest derby in France dates back to 1891! Stade Français have seen their place as the capital's number one club overtaken by Racing in recent times, but Gonzalo Quesada's boys in blue and pink are looking to return to the glory days and are currently four points clear of their local rivals.

Morné Steyn has been included in the Stade Français squad but wing Djibril Camara, hooker Rémi Bonfils and full-back Jérôme Porical are all absent.

Results last season: Racing Metro 23-15 Stade Français; Stade Français 19-16 Racing Metro
Prediction: Tough one to call but Stade might have the fresher side. Stade Français by three points
Kick-off: 20:35 (18.35 GMT)
Referee: Christophe Berdos

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