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Top 14 Preview: Round 11, Saturday

01st November 2013 14:01

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sofiane guitoune perpignan

Top try scorer: Sofiane Guitoune

Saturday's Top 14 action features five matches across Round 11 as the French juggernaut rolls on into November.

Toulouse will look to secure their spot at the top of the table away to struggling Brive, as Biarritz desperately search for their second win at home to Racing.

Perpignan are the latest team travelling to Oyonnax, as Montpellier host in-form Grenoble.

Brive v Toulouse
Stade Amedee Domenech

Strugglers Brive will have plenty of passionate support behind them when they entertain league leaders Toulouse.

Few expected Brive to produce anything substantial away to Clermont and yet they came away with a losing bonus point in Round 10 - pushing Clermont's record winning streak to the limit as they trailed 26-23 with 15 minutes left before succumbing.

The key to their competitiveness was the boot of Gaetan Germain, currently fifth in the Top 14 points scoring rankings this season with 104. Brive will need him to be deadly accurate to get anything out of Saturday's game.

Toulouse rallied against a weakened Toulon after trailing 12-0 at half-time to move top of the league, edging out their rivals including Clermont and Perpignan as they look for a second title in three years.

The key to their early success has been a measly defence, having only conceded 161 points all season. Brive by contrast have conceded 215.

Results last season: -
Prediction: Away win. Toulouse by 15 points.
Kick-off: 15:05 (14:05 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzere


Biarritz v Racing Métro 92
Parc des Sports Aguilera

Biarritz's performances this season have ranged from alarming to appalling, so perhaps it was no surprise to see them leave Castres last week fully embarrassed after losing 39-0.

Heineken Cup finalists only three years ago, Biarritz are currently 12 points clear of safety at the bottom of the league following nine losses from ten matches. Their points difference is -126.

That makes them an easy target for Racing, who welcome back Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton.

Triumphant in the Parisian derby against Stade Francais last weekend, prop Luc Ducalcon was the unlikely hero as he scored the game's only try at the Stade de France.

Racing's record has been mixed this season with six wins and four losses, but they should be comfortable here.

Results last season: Racing Metro 13-12 Biarritz, Biarritz 11-23 Racing Metro
Prediction: Away win. Racing by 25 points.
Kick-off: 18:30 (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Salem Attalah


Oyonnax v Perpignan
Stade Charles Mathon

The surprise package this season in the Top 14 after defeating Clermont, Castres and Toulon at home, Oyonnax are just beginning to slow down.

Two losses since their giant-killing moment against the Heineken Cup champions have seen Oyonnax slowly slip down the table and into the relegation zone, although a nine-point buffer remains between themselves and Biarritz.

Benjamin Urdapilleta has been a reliable source of points and his Argentinian team-mate Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino is a smart new signing - but the wins need to keep rolling in to avoid a dogfight with Bayonne and Brive.

Perpignan on the other hand are flying. They have one of the league's top points scorers in James Hook (104) and the league's top try scorer in the soon-to-be France international Sofiane Guitoune.

Currently on a three-game winning streak since being thumped 31-6 by Brive, USAP can go one better than Toulon and Clermont by winning in the east of France.

Results last season: -
Prediction: Away win. Perpignan by 12 points.
Kick-off: 18:30 (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Jerome Garces


Montpellier v Grenoble
Stade Yves Du Manoir

Tucked into the middle of a packed group of teams chasing Toulouse, Montpellier fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Rene Ranger and Robert Ebersohn on Monday.

Defeat to Bayonne away from home last Friday was a disappointment but Montpellier's recent home form has been excellent; defeating Toulouse 25-0 before scoring 43 points against Clermont and 45 against Oyonnax in their last two matches.

Grenoble though do not pose a simple challenge. With six wins from their opening ten matches, the visitors find themselves only four league points behind Toulouse yet with a negative points difference of -32.

Unbeaten in the league since the 14th of September, Grenoble pipped Racing away from home and picked up a losing bonus point against Clermont.

Surprisingly, Grenoble's tally of three losses is the lowest number of defeats in the league this season. Montpellier will be truly tested.

Results last season: Montpellier 23-6 Grenoble, Grenoble 9-16 Montpellier
Prediction: Home win. Montpellier by 15 points.
Kick-off: 18:30 (17:30 GMT)
Referee: Sebastian Cloute


Stade Français v Bayonne
Stade Yves Du Manoir

Stade remain in the league's top six despite that loss to Racing, still within four points of top spot.

Where Stade differ though from their rivals comes down to points scored. The total of 196 is surprisingly low considering the presence of elite kickers Jerome Porical and Morne Steyn in their squad. Montpellier, Toulon and Clermont have all scored more than 260.

Big wins this season have come over Perpignan, Clermont and Montpellier as Stade have finally become competitive again, which does make them favourites against Bayonne.

The Basque outfit have said good riddance to Mike Phillips and backed it up with last Friday's win over Montpellier.

Martin Bustos Moyano was particularly exceptional with the boot and Bayonne will rely on his prowess to win them tight matches.

Phillips or no Phillips though, Bayonne's current position is precarious - just three points separate them from the relegation places.

Results last season: Bayonne 24-11 Stade, Stade 21-13 Bayonne
Prediction: Home win. Stade by 8 points.
Kick-off: 20:30 (19:30 GMT)
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Bayonne vs Castres18:30
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs SharksPumas vs Sharks Preview
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
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