Top 14 Predictions 2012/13: Round 2

Top 14 RugbyFrance’s domestic season kicked off in sizzling conditions last weekend and if the red inside thermometers across southern France were forcing their way to the top, then the red of Toulon was performing in similar fashion as they edged their way to an impressive away win in Perpignan.

Even more impressive, however, was the performance of Jonny Wilkinson, or better said his left boot that scored all 21 of Toulon’s points in a flawless kicking display by the King. Coming away from the Stade Aime Giral with a kicking percentage of 100% was a herculean effort from the 33-year-old, who has no doubt been motivated by the arrival of the mercurial and adroit former prince of French rugby Freddie Michalak.

In the other big game of the weekend, Castres shocked champions Toulouse when they went within eight minutes of a stunning away win, only to be denied by a Timoci Matanavou try that needed the video referee to decipher a possible forward pass in the lead up by Edwin Maka. Maka made as much impact as a pacific earthquake with his carries and frighteningly large frame (2,02m and 130 kg). Oh, and the Tongan forward and nephew of the famous Maka brothers is only 19 years old! Toulouse have since rewarded him with a five year contract to warn off any potential suitors such was the profoundness of his impact last Friday night.

Elsewhere, Biarritz will have to endure the next three months without their general Dimitri Yachvilli, who needed an operation on a slipped disc. Seemingly unhappy to go quietly, Yachvilli came out with some slanderous comments on the state of French rugby in an interview with le Figaro. Yachvilli claimed that French talent was being destroyed by narrow-minded owners looking to buy quality foreign players to the detriment of young French players.

It’s Paris where it sizzles this week as champions Toulon travel to the nation’s capital for yet another tough away fixture. Racing will be encouraged by their win away to Agen last week, but Toulon showed at Perpignan that they mean business even away from fortress Mayol. I have gone for Clermont and Perpignan away from home, whilst I feel Toulouse, Bayonne, Castres and Agen will hold strong at home.

Here are my Superbru picks for round 2:

Bordeaux Begles v Perpignan: Perpignan by 10
Racing Metro v Toulon: Toulon by 6
Montpellier v Clermont Auvergne: Clermont by 4
Toulouse v Mont-de-Marsan: Toulouse by 30
Castres v Grenoble: Castres by 15
Bayonne v Stade Francais: Bayonne by 5
Agen v Biarritz: Agen by 6

By Mike Dolan

3 thoughts on “Top 14 Predictions 2012/13: Round 2

  1. Bookies running with stats that say most games in Top 14 are won by home team. I think this is an unusual weekend.
    Toulouse, Castres dead cert home wins. Maybe Racing also, but I’ll take Toulon by 2. I like Clermont by 5.
    Bayonne lacking quite a few Agies so I’ll go with Stade by 3. 5/2 offered by bookies looks particularly generous.
    Biarritz have the players who can score tries, so I’ll take them by 5.

  2. Stade did will to beat a depleted Montpelier side at home last week, with new signing Jerome Porical looking strong with the boot. Bayonne will be hurting from a narrow defeat last week to many people’s favorites Clermont. Thus, i expect them to have enough to take Stade at Home this week, or their players will face the Guillotine from their passionate supporters. I think Biarritz will struggle without Yachvilli as so many of their points come from his boot.

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