French Top 14 Rugby: Story so far

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Updated: February 25, 2013
Jonny Wilkinson Toulon

Toulon currently lead the French Top 14, but the chasing pack are gaining some momentum following a poor loss against Castres.

This years Top 14 is as competitive as ever with three teams vying for top spot. Toulon are the current league leaders in France with 66 points from nineteen games played and fourteen wins. They lead second-placed Clermont Auvergne by a mere two points, after the gap was trimmed following Toulon’s 25-20 loss to fourth-placed Castres. That was Toulon’s third loss in five games as they continue to suffer proverbial nose-bleeds from occupying the top spot.

Clermont took full advantage of the league leaders’ slip-up, beating Grenoble thanks to tries from Napolioni Nalaga and Sivivatu Sivaveni. As we near the business end of the season, Clermont will be quietly confident of catching Toulon and a stunning finish surely awaits.

Defending champions Toulouse occupy third-place and sit four points behind Clermont Auvergne. They displayed great character on Saturday to bounce back from consecutive defeats and beat Bayonne 42-6. It was a much-needed win for a Toulouse side that will have high hopes of retaining their title come the end of the season.

Fifth-placed Montpellier came out on top in a tight 15-13 victory over Bordeaux-Belges. That win put them three points ahead of Racing-metro in fifth. Racing are in blistering form at present and the victory over Biarritz was their fifth in a row. That 23-11 away win at Biarritz bumped them up to sixth place and boosted their chances of qualifying for the Top 14 knock-out stages. Manuel Carriza and Sebastien Descons were the try-scorers for Racing.

Perpignan secured their fourth win in five games with a 32-16 win over Stade Francais on Saturday. The loss was a crushing blow to Stade Francais. They find themselves in ninth place, nine points behind Racing Metro  and will need a minor miracle if they are to advance to the knock-out stages.

Mont-de-Marsan occupy bottom place and are destined for life in Pro D2 next season. It is a straight shoot-out between Bordeaux-Belges in thirteenth place and SU Agen in twelfth to see who will be condemned to the dreaded second relegation spot. Agen had a huge won over the weekend against basement club Mont-de-Marsan  and sit three points ahead of Bordeaux-Belges. A fascinating battle to keep their heads above water is in prospect as the season nears it’s conclusion.

Toulon are 13/8 with Boylesports.com to win the 2012/13 French Top 14.

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