Round two of the Top 14 didn’t throw up too many surprises, Bordeaux beating Racing Métro in perhaps the biggest shock of the round – although a home win is never really a surprise over in France. What’s in store this weekend?
Game of the Round: Racing Métro vs Toulon
It was tempting to pick Clermont’s game against Montpellier, but in terms of the world-famous names on show, this game is even bigger. Racing come into the game on the back of an away loss to Bordeaux – not an embarrassing result by any stretch of the imagination, but still a game they would have been targeting to win. Toulon, predictably, put 60 points past Top 14 new boys La Rochelle. Welcome to the big leagues.
This fixture is full of mouth-watering head to heads. In Jonny Wilkinson’s absence at Toulon, Matt Giteau has been doing the business at fly-half, and his battle with Racing’s Johnny Sexton will be worth tuning in for on its own. Giteau is probably better with ball in hand, but there are few who possess a tactical kicking game the level of Sexton’s.
Elsewhere, the back row battle between the likes of Lydiate, Lauret and Claassen of Racing and Armitage and Vosloo of Toulon will go a long way to deciding this one. Add in the attacking prowess of flyers Teddy Thomas, Brice Dulin, Drew Mitchell and David Smith, and we should be in for a brilliant game.
The rule of thumb with the Top 14 is to stick with the home side. Racing actually haven’t played in front of their home fans yet this season, and with one impressive win against Montpellier and one disappointing loss to Bordeaux on the road so far, they’ll want to put in a good show in front of their home fans for the first time this season. They have a squad almost as impressive as Toulon’s, and should get the win – just.
SuperBru prediction: Racing Métro by 3.
Clermont vs Montpellier: Clermont by 12
La Rochelle vs Toulouse: Toulouse by 5
Castres vs Bayonne: Castres by 10
Grenoble vs Bordeaux: Grenoble by 9
Lyon vs Brive: Lyon by 12
Oyonnax vs Stade Français: Stade Français by 5
What are your predictions for the weekend?