Planet Rugby

Top 14 Preview: Round 12

30th November 2012 07:09

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Clermont and Toulouse congratulate each other

Big clash: Toulouse v Clermont

Following a three-week break due to the November internationals, Top 14 returns this weekend with Toulouse vs Clermont the stand-out fixture.

Leaders Toulon will expect to pick up a maximum at home to Grenoble while the derby between Racing-Métro and Stade Français also excites.

Fixtures:

Friday, November 30
Perpignan v Agen

Saturday, December 1
Toulouse v Clermont
Biarritz Olympique v Union Bordeaux-Bègles
Mont-de-Marsan v Castres Olympique
Montpellier Hérault Rugby v Aviron Bayonnais
Toulon v Grenoble
Racing Métro 92 v Stade Français

Standings:
1 Toulon 42
2 Clermont 40
3 Toulouse 38
4 Montpellier 32
5 Castres 32
6 Grenoble 30
7 Biarritz 24
8 Stade Français 24
9 Perpignan 21
10 Racing Metro 21
11 Bayonne 20
12 Agen 16
13 Bordeaux 16
14 Mont-de-Marsan 6


Perpignan vs Agen
Stade Aimé Giral

Ninth meets twelfth in France on Friday as USAP host Agen in a game the Catalans need to win if they are to put pressure on the outfits currently occupying the play-off positions.

Prop forward Sébastien Taofifenua has signed a new contract for Perpignan in midweek while Agen will be led by Jean Monribot as they look to bounce back from their 20-13 defeat to Stade Français in Round 11. Perpignan lost at Biarritz in a poor showing last time out.

Kick-off: 20:50 (19:50 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gaüzere
Assistant referees: Sébastien Boyer, Akim Hadj Bachir
Television match official: Jean-Pierre Pellaprat


Toulouse vs Clermont
Stadium de Toulouse

Toulouse will be missing flanker Thierry Dusautoir, lock Patricio Albacete and wing Yves Donguy for the weekend's big spectacle at Stadium de Toulouse on Saturday. They do receive a boost in the news that hooker Christopher-Eric Tolofua is back from a ban.

Meanwhile, Clermont will be without back-row forward Viktor Kolelishvili, who was this week suspended for 20 days for "brutality" during the game against Agen. Clermont currently lie in second position, just a point off Toulon while Toulouse are two points behind les Jaunards.

Kick-off: 15:00 (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès
Assistant referees: Jérôme Lamirand, Pascal Ubeda
Television match official: Vincent Azoulay


Montpellier vs Bayonne
Stade Yves du Manoir (Montpellier)

Bayonne were this week handed some good news in that Manu Ahotaeiloa and Cédric Heymans both came through training without discomfort and should feature. Thibault Lacroix and Gabiriele Lovobalavu won't play while scrum-half Mike Phillips is with Wales.

Montpol are currently going strong in the Top 14, sitting fourth while Bayonne are eleventh.

Kick-off: 18:30 (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Stéphane Pomarède
Assistant referees: Tual Trainini, Jérôme Lamarque
Television match official: Daniel Gillet


Biarritz vs Bordeaux-Bègles
Parc Des Sports D'Aguilera

French international forward Imanol Harinordoquy will return to action after six months out with a knee injury when his Biarritz side tackle Bordeaux on Saturday.

The 32-year-old loose forward - a veteran of 82 internationals - will be amongst the replacements for this Top 14 match. His presence will be a welcome return for BO, as the hosts go in search of back-to-back wins to push them further up the table.

Biarritz will be favourites to knock over Bordeaux-Begles, who sit second from the bottom and looking to avoid a hat-trick of defeats.

Kick-off: 18:30 (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Jean-Luc Rebollal
Assistant referees: Vincent Blasco-Baqué, Philippe Gorbenko
Television match official: Eric Gauzins


Toulon vs Grenoble
Stade Mayol

Leading the competition and with their boss Bernard Laporte penning a new contract that will keep on the Mediterranean coast until June 2015, all things seem tranquil for Toulon right now. Team news sees France star Frederic Michalak return but only make the bench.

Grenoble will be without Shaun Sowerby while they are sweating over Valentin Courrent.

Kick-off: 18:30 (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Patrick Pechambert
Assistant referees: Flavien Hourquet, Bruno Fiche
Television match official: Hervé Dubes


Mont-de-Marsan vs Castres
Stade Guy Boniface

The basement side take on fifth placed Castres at Stade Guy Boniface and will be buoyed by their first victory in the competition, away to Racing Metro in Round 11. That result was a big shock so they enter with confidence against a side that won at Bordeaux last time out.

Kick-off: 18:30 (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Jean-Pierre Matheu
Assistant referees: Sébastien Minery, Jean-Michel Schutz
Television match official: Jean-Claude Levrier


Racing-Métro vs Stade Français
Stade de France

Misfiring Paris pair Stade Français and Racing-Métro face off in Saturday's Top 14 derby at the Stade de France, where a crowd of up to 50,000 is expected.

Both clubs have struggled so far this season with Stade currently lying eighth and Racing tenth and both badly need full points to keep alive their hopes of grabbing a play-offs berth at the end of the season.

Racing, who lost at home 17-16 to Mont-de-Marsan in their last outing, are desperate to bounce back amid a background of dressing-room unrest and personnel changes on the coaching front.

"It's time to stop the talking, time to start being responsible - we need to win this match," said international prop Luc Ducalcon.

"We have great respect for Stade Francais and we know that they have had a few good results recently, but we just can't afford to not be at our best for what is the Paris derby.

"We need the points and I am sure we have the firepower to win."

Kick-off: 20:40 (19:40 GMT)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona, Laurent Breil
Television match official: Gérard Borreani

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