Top 14 Preview: Round 13

29th Nov 2013, 22:39

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Clash in the capital: Toulon visit Stade Français

Clash in the capital: Toulon visit Stade Français

The leading four clubs in the Top 14 are all on the road this weekend with Toulon and Montpellier both travelling to the capital.

The leading four clubs in the Top 14 are all on the road this weekend with Toulon and Montpellier both travelling to the capital.

Inconsistent leaders Toulon face Stade Français while Toulouse are also away from home on Saturday with a tricky trip to Grenoble.

A week ahead of the return to Heineken Cup action, Racing Metro host fellow European contenders Montpellier while Clermont kick the weekend off in Perpignan.

In other matches, defending champion Castres are at home to Bayonne, bottom-of-the table Biarritz welcome Bordeaux and Oyonnax are at home to Brive.

Fixtures:

Friday, November 29
Preview: Perpignan v Clermont

Saturday, November 30
Stade Français v Toulon
Biarritz v Bordeaux-Bègles
Castres v Bayonne
Oyonnax v Brive
Racing-Metro v Montpellier
Grenoble v Toulouse

Previews:

Stade Français Paris v Rugby Club Toulonnais
Stade Jean Bouin, Paris

European champions Toulon have blown hot and cold since the start of the season, although Springboks lock Bakkies Botha believes there is no big problem at the Mediterranean club.

"I am not unduly bothered about this (inconsistency)," he said.

"We saw it again against Perpignan - it's all a matter of getting the little details right. We have got to correct the mistakes we are making.

"But we have the players that can do this. In our squad we have several players who have the experience to get this done."

Botha also said that he expected a close match on Saturday in Paris against a side who lost 45-23 at Bordeaux last weekend. Stade are unbeaten on home soil this season and lie just five points off the lead.

"When you play for Toulon, you know what to expect. There is a lot of pressure on us because everyone wants to beat us. That's normal and we accept it."

Toulon have recalled all their big guns including their Springboks and French internationals.

Stade Français : 15 Jerome Porical, 14 Julien Arias, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Djibril Camara, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Olivier Missoup, 6 Antoine Burban, 5 Pascal Pape, 4 Alexandre Flanquart, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Laurent Sempere, 1 Heinke van der Merwe,
Replacements: 16 Remi Bonfils, 17 Sakaria Taulafo, 18 Gerhard Mostert, 19 Scott Lavalla, 20 Jerome Fillol, 21 Morne Steyn, 22 Meyer Bosman, 23 Davit Kubriashvili.

Toulon: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Rudolffe Wulf, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 Virgile Bruni, 6 Pierrick Gunther, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Jean Charles Orioli, 1 Xavier Chiocci,
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Bakkies Botha, 19 Juan Smith, 20 Alexis Palisson, 21 Chris Masoe, 22 Matt Giteau, 23 Martin Castrogiovanni.

Result last season: Stade Français 11 - 43 Toulon
Prediction: Stade are very tough to beat at home. Stade Français by six points
Kick-off: 14.55 (13.55 GMT)
Referee: Cédric Marchat




Biarritz Olympique v Union Bordeaux-Bègles
Parc des Sports d'Aguilera, Biarritz

Have Biarritz finally awoken? A well-earned victory in Brive last week meant the Basques put together back-to-back wins to end a eight-match losing streak.

Back at home and facing a direct rival in the battle to avoid relegation, this is a massive weekend for Serge Blancos's club.

UBB have yet to win in six away games this season and have not won in Biarritz in three attempts since their return to the top flight three years ago.

Biarritz: 15 Damien Traille, 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 13 Seremaia Burotu, 12 Benoit Baby, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Dimitri Yachvili, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Tanguy Molcard, 6 Benoit Guyot, 5 Mathias Marie, 4 Erik Lund, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Jean Philippe Genevois, 1 Thomas Synaeghel.
Replacements: 16 Jonnah Dabti, 17 Alexandre Menini, 18 Addison Lockley, 19 Ueleni Fono, 20 Joshua Furno, 21 Luix Roussarie, 22 Daniel Waenga, 23 Benedict Broster.

Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Darly Domvo, 14 Metuisela Talebula, 13 Felix Le Bourhis, 12 Julien Rey, 11 Blair Connor, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Heini Adams, 8 Matthew Clarkin, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Louis benoit Madaule, 5 Adam Jaulhac, 4 Jandre Marais, 3 Albert Toetu, 2 Clement Maynadier, 1 Jean Batiste Poux,
Replacements: 16 Wayne Avei, 17 Laurent Delboulbes, 18 Alikisio Fakate, 19 Matt Graham, 20 Taiasina Tuifua, 21 Emmanuel Saubusse, 22 Romain Lonca, 23 Silviu Florea.
Result last season: Biarritz 25-22 Bordeaux
Prediction:BO seem to be rejuvenated. Biarritz by nine points.
Kick-off: 18:30 (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Cyril Lafon




Castres Olympique v Aviron Bayonnais
Stade Pierre Antoine, Castres

Both these sides will be looking to back up their respective 20-16 and 24-21 wins over Montpellier and Grenoble when they meet at Stade Pierre-Antoine.

Castres' wins on the road at Montpol was arguably the result of the round last weekend while Bayonne's win kept them above the relegation zone.

Bayonne are boosted by the return of powerful number eight Opeti Fonua, who returns from international duty with Tonga, while the backline is set to be unchanged. Joe Rokocoko, Stephen Brett, Marvin O'Connor, Mathieu Belie, Manu Ahotaeiloa, Scott Spedding and Martin Bustos Moyano are all in the squad.

Just five points above the drop zone, Bayonne have yet to win away from home this season and have lost on their last nine visits to the Tarn.

Castres know that a home triumph would put them in a strong position going into the Heineken Cup with a home fixture against the Ospreys next Friday.

Castres: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Romain Martial, 13 Romain Cabannes, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 Remy Grosso, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Yannick Caballero, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Brice Mach, 1 Saimone Taumoepeau.
Replacements: 16 Marc Antoine Rallier, 17 Mihaita Lazar, 18 Christophe Samson, 19 Ibrahim Diarra, 20 Cedric Garcia, 21 Remi Tales, 22 Geoffrey Palis, 23 Karena Wihongi.

Bayonne: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Martin Bustos Moyano, 13 Joe Rokocoko, 12 Manu Ahotaeiloa, 11 Marvin O'Connor, 10 Santiago Fernandez, 9 Mathieu Belie, 8 Opeti Fonua, 7 Jean Marmouyet, 6 Jean Monribot, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Lisiate Faaoso, 3 Nemiah Tialata, 2 David Roumieu, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg,
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Gert Muller, 18 Dewald Senekal, 19 Charles Ollivon, 20 Guillaume Rouet, 21 Stephen Brett, 22 Julien Puricelli, 23 Aretz Iguiniz.

Result last season: Castres 31-10 Bayonne