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
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Preview
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs ZebreMunster vs Zebre Preview
Cardiff Blues vs UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Preview
Connacht vs LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Preview
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
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Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
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Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs PumasLions vs Pumas Preview
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
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ITM Cup
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
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Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
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Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
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Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
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ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
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Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
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Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
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Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
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Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26