Preview: Top 14, Round Two

Date published: August 22 2014

The Top 14 was back with a bang last week, with a refreshing number of away victories. Can Clermont win away to Brive?

The Top 14 was back with a bang last week, with a refreshing number of away victories.

Toulon, Stade Français and Racing-Métro all secured wins away from home, with those three results matching the number of away successes in the first month of last season.

This weekend will see the pressure on Castres, away at Toulouse on Friday, and Montpellier, at home to Grenoble, to bounce back from opening day defeats.

Surprise leaders Brive will have the chance to make it two from two in a derby at home to Clermont, while it doesn't get any easier for the promoted sides, with trips to Toulon, for La Rochelle, and Stade Français for Lyon.


Toulouse v Castres
Brive v Clermont
Montpellier v Grenoble
Toulon v La Rochelle
Bayonne v Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles v Racing Metro
Stade Francais v Lyon

Brive v Clermont

It was a summer of doubt for Clermont after a miserable end to their last campaign, but that all looked behind them when they raced into a 14-0 lead in just 11 minutes against Grenoble.

Unfortunately for Franck Azéma's side, it got a lot trickier from there, with Grenoble finding a worrying number of gaps in the Clermont defence to go toe to toe with Les Jaunards.

In the end Clermont hung on but they will need to improve when they travel to early leaders Brive.

Les Coujous lacked their usual intensity in the early stages of their clash with La Rochelle last week, and trailed 9-3 after half an hour, before turning things around in emphatic style.

La Rochelle certainly didn't help themselves with two yellow cards in as many minutes, but Brive were clinical racing in three tries in quick succession to end the game as a contest.

They will look to build on their home form again this year, having lost only to relegated Biarritz at Amédée Domenech last term, and Clermont know it will take a big performance to add a second win of the campaign.

They will also have to achieve it without winger Julien Malzieu, who was instrumental in the first two tries last week, but is sitting out the game because of concussion.

Brive: 15 Gaetan Germain, 14 Alfi Mafi, 13 Arnaud Mignardi, 12 Thomas Sanchou , 11 Elia Radikedike, 10 Thomas Laranjeira, 9 Jean baptiste Pejoine, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Poutasi Luafutu, 6 Petrus Hauman, 5 Arnaud Mela, 4 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Guillaume Ribes, 1 Goderzi Shvelidze.
Replacements: 16 Louis Acosta, 17 Johannes Coetzee, 18 Peet Marais, 19 Hugues Briatte, 20 Damien Neveu, 21 Riaan Swanepoel , 22 Benito Masilevu, 23 Damien Jourdain,

Clermont: 15 Jean Marcellin Buttin, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Aurelien Rougerie, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Loic Jacquet, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume.
Replacements:16 John Ulugia, 17 Thomas Domingo, 18 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 19 Alexandre Lapandry, 20 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 21 Brock James, 22 Benson Stanley, 23 Daniel Kotze.

Date: Saturday, August 23
Venue: Stade Amédée Domenech
Kick-off: 14.45 local (13.45 GMT)
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz
Assistant referees: Stéphane Boyer, Christophe Malterre

Bayonne v Oyonnax

Bayonne won't be the only team to lose at home to Toulon this season, but failing to even pick up a bonus point has left them under pressure before a second straight game at Jean Dauger.

Given the reduced budget, and light recruitment, it was always likely to be a tough campaign for the Basque side, and they will certainly need to shore up their scrum if they are to avoid following Biarritz into the Pro D2.

Saturday will be a good test of their set-piece, with Oyonnax getting the upper hand away at Toulouse in a game they feel they deserved to win.

Just a year after getting promoted, Oyonnax appear to have taken big strides, and going away to one of their likely relegation rivals will be a great test for them to see where they stand.

The home side will hope that youngster Charles Ollivon is firing once more after his impressive performance against Toulon, while Oyonnax winger Dug Codjo looked very dangerous on the few occasions he got the ball against Toulouse.

Bayonne: 15 Scott Spedding, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Santiago Fernandez, 12 Matthieu Ugalde, 11 Marvin O'Connor, 10 Blair Stewart, 9 Guillaume Rouet, 8 Charles Ollivon, 7 Dwayne Haare, 6 Pierre Gayraud, 5 Mark Chisholm (c), 4 Lisiate Fa'aoso, 3 Gert Muller, 2 Gregory Arganese, 1 Aretz Iguiniz
Replacements:16 Simon Labouyrie, 17 Janse van Rensburg, 18 Opeti Fonua, 19 Pelu Taele, 20 Christophe Loustalot, 21 Jon Elissalde, 22 Bastien Fuster, 23 Giorgi Jgenti

Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos (c), 14 Dug Codjo, 13 Guillaume Bousses, 12 Roimata Hansell-Pune, 11 Yves Donguy, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Agustin Figuerola, 8 Viliami Ma'afu, 7 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 6 Guillaume Bernad, 5 Damian Browne, 4 Thibault Lassalle, 3 Ruaan du Preez, 2 Jody Jennejer, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha
Replacements:16 Clement Julien, 17 Marc Clerc, 18 Miroslav Nemecek, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Fabien Cibray, 21 Riaan Smit, 22 Pierre Aguillon, 23 Antoine Tichit

Date: Saturday, August 23
Venue: Stade Jean Dauger
Kick-off: 18.30 local (17.30 GMT)
Referee: Laurent Cardona
Assistant referees: Christophe Berdos, Eric Soulan