French Top 14 preview

Updated: August 24, 2012

Having made headlines during the week for off the field reason the French rugby season enters it’s second week of their new campaign with each team searching for some early season consistency.

Here at sportsnewsireland we have all the team news from what promises to be a fantastic weekend of domestic rugby.

Racing-Métro 92 v Rugby Club Toulonnais
Stade Yves Du Manoir – Colombes (Paris)

Possibly the game of the weekend. Two big spending sides that love to play an open, expansive game of rugby and two teams that come into this game full of confidence after recording wins on the opening day of the season.

Along with a star studded starting XV Racing are boosted by the return of Jean-Charles Orioli and Benjamin Lapeyre who missed their opening day win against Agen.

Toulon also opened with a win last weekend, albeit not as impressively as Racing, when they defeated Perpignan so they travel to Paris in confident mood.

Despite missing the likes of Benjamin Fall, Andrea Lo Cicero, Sireli Bobo and Jone Qovu Racing are selected to matain their 100% start to the season.

Aviron Bayonnais v Stade Français Paris
Stade Jean Dauger, Bayonne

One of the strongest teams at home last season, Stade were let down time and again by their away record and they will look to start their away campaign in better form when they meet Aviron Bayonnais.

Stade began their season with an impressive win against Montpellier despite skipper Sergio Parisse not starting, although he returns for this weekend’s clash.

Bayonne lost their opening game to Clermont, although this was mainly due to Jacques-Louis Potgieter who missed five penalties in that game.

The home side welcome Gabiriele Lovobalavu, who makes his debut here although that is offset by the unavailability of Benjamin Boyet and Marvin O’Connor who are both still missing.

Castres Olympique v FC Grenoble
Stade Pierre Antoine, Castres

Perhaps one of the less hyped games of the weekend but an important game nonetheless.

Grenoble caused the upset of Round 1 last weekend by winning away to Bordeaux-Begles, which gave the new boys of the Top 14 the perfect start in the top flight of French rugby.

Castres, who were once a leading light in French rugby, almost caused another upset but just failed to beat Toulouse in Round 1. In what should be a tight game, Castres are selected to gain the win.

Montpellier Hérault Rugby v ASM Clermont Auvergne
Stade Yves Du Manoir, Montpellier

Last year’s beaten Heineken Cup semi-finalists Clermont travel to a Montpellier side that are in desperate need of a win of any kind.

Including pre season games, the home side have lost their last five games in a row and welcome a Clermont side that will be looking to improve after the opening weekend win in Bayonne.

Montpellier’s chances of beating Clermont are not helped by the fact that they are missing six Argentine internationals who are away playing in the Rugby Championship.

With that in mind Clermont are selected to get the win and remain undefeated this season.

Stade Toulousain v Stade Montois
Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse

Perhaps one of the easier games to preview as the minnows of Stade Montois visit one of the giants of French and indeed European rugby in the shape of Toulouse.

Toulouse have not lost at home in two and a half years and the prospects of Montois recording what would be a historic upset would appear remote. Toulouse for the win.

SU Agen v Biarritz Olympique
Stade Armandie, Agen

Despite this only been the second round of games this meeting could be cruical in the whole season of Agen.

Biarritz must deal with the absence of their influential stat Dimitri Yachvili, who is set for three months on the sidelines after slipping a disk in his back.

Stade Armandie has not been a happy hunting ground for Biarritz, who have won there just twice in the post-war era.

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