Top 14 Preview: Quarter-finals

Date published: June 10 2016

The Top 14 play-offs kick off with two classic encounters in the barrages as four teams look to reach the semi-finals in Rennes.

Racing 92 secured a home clash with Toulouse thanks to a convincing win over Montpellier in their final match of the regular season, with the teams going head-to-head at this stage for the third time in four years.

Meanwhile Montpellier’s loss cost them the chance of an automatic semi-final spot, and instead they host Castres.

The two met at this stage for the first time in 2011, when Montpellier were surprise finalists, while Castres also beat Montpellier in the barrages in 2013 on the way to the title.



Racing 92 v Toulouse


Montpellier v Castres

Racing 92 v Toulouse
Stade Yves du Manoir, Colombes

Jacky Lorenzetti’s Racing have enjoyed a landmark season with a first European final, but after that loss to Saracens, there was a danger that their campaign could peter out.

An away barrage would have made things particularly tricky; but a big win over Montpellier last weekend ensured that they will host Toulouse.

In their first season under Ugo Mola, Toulouse started strongly, and finished strongly, but a sticky period during the Six Nations was particularly costly.

However they look to be coming into some form and could have the edge up front with Racing missing both Luc Ducalcon and Martin Castrogiovanni, for injury and disciplinary reasons, leaving Ben Tameifuna as the only fit tighthead.

Toulouse have struggled at Colombes, with both of their recent road victories over Racing coming at the Stade de France, but they will be dangerous underdogs in this one.

This season’s result: Racing 92 won 28-13
Kick-off: 20:45 local (19:45 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzère

Montpellier v Castres
Altrad Stadium, Montpellier

Jake White’s high-flying Montpellier came to earth with a bump last week as they were well-beaten at Racing.

It came as something of a surprise with what was virtually a full-strength squad, but Montpellier will fancy their chances on their return to the Altrad Stadium.

They have lost just twice on home soil this season, to Toulouse and Pau, although their clash with Castres in March was very close.

On that occasion two late François Trinh-Duc penalties proved the difference, but he of course will not be involved in this clash, having been released to France after being deemed surplus to requirements.

Castres did enough last weekend against Stade Français to secure the sixth play-off spot, and will relish the opportunity to come in as outsiders.

Head coach Christophe Urios came very close to surprising a big gun on their own patch last season when Oyonnax fell just short against Toulouse.

Visiting the city where he was born, he’ll be looking to go one better this time around.

This season’s result: Montpellier won 22-19
Kick-off: 16:15 local (15:15 GMT)
Referee: Laurent Cardona