Planet Rugby

Top 14 Preview: Round 21

28th February 2014 09:58

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Perpignan players celebrate their victory 19 18 over toulouse

History: Perpignan won in Toulouse last year

Toulouse find themselves sitting outside the play-offs zone as they host Perpignan on Saturday before a high-stakes Basque derby on Sunday.

The top two are on the road this weekend as Stade Français kick the action off in Montpellier while Clermont travel to Bordeaux.

Toulon will expect to continue to climb up the standings with a home fixture against lowly Oyonnax.

Up in the capital, Racing Métro and Castres go head to head in the race for a place in the top six.

Fixtures:

Friday, February 28
Montpellier v Stade Français

Saturday, March 1
Bordeaux-Bègles v Clermont
Brive v Grenoble
Racing Métro v Castres
Toulon v Oyonnax
Toulouse v Perpignan

Sunday, March 2
Biarritz v Bayonne

Standings


Previews:

Union Bordeaux-Bègles v ASM Clermont Auvergne
Stade Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux

Unbeaten in seven games at home this last September, UBB host the league leaders hoping to secure the four points that should be enough to step clear of the relegation scrap.

Clermont haven't been great on the road this season, losing seven times in 10 games, including their last three.

However, les Jaunards have never lost to UBB in nine games in the professional era and have won on their last three visits to the Gironde region.

Result in Round Eight: Clermont won 40-11
Kick-off: 14:55 (13.55)
Referee: Cédric Marchat


CA Brive-Corrèze v Grenoble
Stade Amédée-Domenech, Brive-la-Gaillarde

Brive have been in good form of late, winning three out of four games before coming unstuck in Perpignan last week and missing out on an opportunity to pull clear of the relegation battle in the process.

The hosts have come out on top in their last four home games - losing just once on home soil all season - so they will fancy their chances against a Grenoble side that were shocked by Biarritz last week.

Sixth-placed Grenoble have won just once in 12 visits to Brive - back in 1981 - but with Toulouse and Racing breathing down their necks for the final spot in the play-offs, Fabrice Landreau's side won't be short on motivation.

Result in Round Eight: 12-12 draw
Kick-off: 18:30 (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzère


Racing Métro 92 v Castres Olympique
Stade Yves Du Manoir - Colombes (Paris)

Lying in eighth place, two points short of the play-off places, Racing cannot afford to drop points at home but face a very tough task against the defending champions.

Racing had lost just once in seven games before stumbling on the road in Bordeaux-Bègles last week and will be looking to recapture the form that put them back into contention. The Parisians have won nine of their 10 home games this term.

Castres, meanwhile, have travelled poorly, claiming just one win on the road this season. The champs have not tasted success in Colombes since 1999.

Result in Round Eight: Castres won 19-15
Kick-off: 18:30 (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garcès


Rugby Club Toulonnais v Oyonnax
Stade Felix Mayol, Toulon

Having been embarrassed in Oyonnax earlier this season, Toulon will have a point to prove as they host the relegation-threatened minnows on Saturday.

The European champs seem to be on an upward curve having finally claimed an away win last week in Bayonne as Jonny Wilkinson celebrated his 100th game for the club by scoring all the points.

With the leading duo travelling this week, fourth-placed Toulon will know a bonus-point win will take them close to the summit of the standings. But they will have to make do without Juan Smith, who has a hamstring injury.

Oyonnax have yet to win away from home this season but came painfully close to upsetting Stade Français in Paris last week.

Result in Round Eight: Oyonnax won 25-22
Kick-off: 18:30 (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz


Stade Toulousain v USA Perpignan
Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse

Toulouse have zero room for error as they host their bogey team. Indeed, Toulouse have lost their last five games against Perpignan in all competitions!

Threatened with the prospect of missing the play-offs for the first time in the professional era, Guy Novès' side must get the job done this weekend.

But after victory in Biarritz and having pushed Castres close last week, Toulouse look to be regaining some form. They are also set to welcome back former All Black playmaker Luke McAlister.

Perpignan are coming off the back off a solid win over Brive that finally gave them some room to breathe. Still very much in the battle to avoid relegation, the Catalans will be happy to claim even a losing bonus points this weekend.

USAP won 19-18 in Toulouse lasy year, but that was their first win in the Ville Rose in 21 post-war matches.

Result in Round Eight: Perpignan won 20-16
Kick-off: 18.35 (17.35 GMT)
Referee: Salem Attalah


Biarritz Olympique v Aviron Bayonnais
Parc des Sports d'Aguilera, Biarritz

The weekend's action will climax on Sunday with a nail-biting Basque derby in Biarritz.

Relegation hangs over both clubs with Bayonne, third from bottom but having played two more games than Oyonnax, somewhat better off than tail-enders Biarritz, who are 18 points off safety.

Indeed, Biarritz look set to face the drop but have made the Basque derby their number one priority. And having claimed a shock win in Grenoble last week, the team in red finally have some confidence and momentum.

Biarritz's home form has been shocking this season, winning just three times and losing their last three.

But form elsewhere counts for nothing in Basque derbies. Bayonne have won two of the last three, with one draw.

Result in Round Eight: Bayonne won 27-19
Kick-off: 15:00 (14.00 GMT) on Sunday
Referee: Mathieu Raynal

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Castres vs Bay Of Plenty18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
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ITM Cup
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Preview
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay04:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato09:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
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
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions 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
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00