Top 14 Predictions 2014/2015: Round 2

It was a reasonably unpredictable opening round of Top 14 action (some away sides managed to win!), but what’s in store in round two?

Game of the round: Toulouse vs Castres

Two former champions do battle here, but they come into the game after both wildly failing to impress in Round One. After not losing at home for the entirety of last season, Castres went down 22-25 against a young Stade Français side, who seem intent on storming out of the blocks just as they did last season. Moving the game from the Stade Pierre Antoine to Beziers was not a wise decision.

Toulouse, meanwhile, may have managed a win but it was only by one point, 20-19, over Oyonnax, who were within a hair’s breadth of being relegated last season. Toby Flood scored all of Toulouse’s points in an impressive debut that featured a try and five penalties, but really it was incredibly far from the convincing win home fans would have been expecting.

So what to make of this weekend’s fixture? Well, it will likely be incredibly tight, and given they shared one try apiece on opening weekend, relatively low-scoring too. On paper Toulouse probably edge it, and they have home advantage, too – the Ernest Wallon is a ground at which Castres have not won for 36 years. Sometimes history is so weighty, it’s impossible to ignore.

That said, if Toulouse play as poorly as they did against Oyonnax, there’s no doubt that Castres have the quality to get a win and that monkey off their backs. Expect Toulouse to shake things up a bit, given their considerable resources, and for them to improve sufficiently to beat last season’s finalists.

SuperBru prediction: Toulouse by 5

Other predictions:

Brive v Clermont Auvergne: Clermont by 3
Bayonne v Oyonnax: Oyonnax by 2
Bordeaux v Racing Métro: Bordeaux by 5
Montpellier v Grenoble: Montpellier by 10
Toulon v La Rochelle: Toulon by 40
Stade Français v Lyon: Stade Français by 25

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43