Planet Rugby

Top 14 Preview: Round 11, Friday

31st October 2013 09:51

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Clermont s French flanker Julien Bonnaire is tackled v Castres

Big one: Castres v Clermont

Two games are scheduled for Friday in the Top 14 as Toulon and Castres will host Bordeaux-Bčgles and Clermont respectively as Round 11 kicks-off.

Toulon v Bordeaux-Bčgles
Stade Felix Mayol, Toulon

Despite being 12-0 ahead at the break against title rivals Toulouse last week, Toulon let a handy advantage slip away to leave the Stade Ernest Wallon both without victory and watching Toulouse climb to first in the Top 14.

That leaves Toulon playing catch-up - three league points now separating them from the summit with Perpignan and Clermont sandwiched in between.

Jonny Wilkinson uncharacteristically missed two late penalties last Saturday that could and arguably should have ensured victory. Whilst the early part of his week was spent getting married, the latter has no doubt been a routine of repeatedly hammering over penalties in anger. Toulon will welcome him back to the number ten jersey, but Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe will not be present after he was ruled out for three months due to an elbow fracture.

Bordeaux-Bčgles meanwhile lost out 20-31 to Perpignan on the road last week and sit a nervous four points above the relegation zone.

Little is expected of the visitors for this one but Metuisela Talebulamaijaina's brace last weekend proved they can score tries - with their points difference only standing at -14 in an important advantage over their relegation rivals Bayonne (-84) and Oyonnax (-79).

Results last season: Toulon 42-12 Bordeaux; Bordeaux 41-0 Toulon
Prediction: Simple enough. Toulon by 15 points.
Kick-off: 19:00 (18:00 GMT)
Referee: Sebastien Minery


Castres v Clermont
Stade Pierre Antoine, Castres

Ninth plays second in the big game of the weekend as Castres look to back up last week's impressive 39-0 win over Biarritz with the scalp of Clermont.

BO were no match for this Friday's hosts while Clermont were given a real scare by Brive on home soil before edging them out to continue their unbeaten run at Marcel Michelin. Net result being that Castres enter this game as favourites as the defending champions look to climb the standings.

That 39-0 win was a result claimed without Rory Kockott in the starting XV so expect him to be fully rested and back in the side against les Jaunards.

Clermont meanwhile had to rely on a late try from Napolioni Nalaga and the boot of Brock James to get past Brive but have a daunting task ahead of them this weekend as they have not won a league match in Castres in 37 years, the last coming in October 1976 when they won 15-11 at Stade Pierre-Antoine.

Results last season: Castres 16-13 Clermont; Clermont 9-25 Castres
Prediction: Castres to take this by 10 points.
Kick-off: 21:00 (20:00 GMT)
Referee: Laurent Cardona

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