Top 14: Between dead death and star wars
Franck Azéma, coach of the current champion and relegated Clermont
Rather “La Mort aux trousses”, with a derby of anxiety on Saturday between Clermont and Brive, current relegation, or “The Star Wars” Sunday between Montpellier and Toulon to the scintillating numbers? To each one his session during the 4th day of the Top 14.
(14h45) Toulouse – French Stadium. The Toulousans came close to the feat on Sunday in Toulon (20-16) and have, in addition to the defensive bonus, garnered confidence. They will set favorites against Parisians who struggle to reproduce their offensive rugby outside, as their last trip to Bordeaux (defeat 30-10) showed. Greg Cooper is still deprived of three masterpieces (Parisse, Danty, Camara).
(6 pm) Agen – La Rochelle. The Rochelais, on a cloud for 40 minutes against Clermont (win 51-20), have a speech of humility that should prevent them from taking high promoted, reinforced this summer by their former South African scrum half Ricky Januarie. Especially since the SUA has already beaten the Racing 92 in Armandie (23-19) and almost triumphed in Oyonnax (defeat 12-10).
(18h00) Lyon – Bordeaux-Begles. The two growing clubs, announced as future strongholds of French rugby, began their season well with two successes for a setback. They are thus logically tied in the standings and this duel of the metropoles takes all meaning in the perspective of the race to the final phase, the ambition more or less avowed on both sides.
(6 pm) Pau – Castres. The two outsiders have had different trajectories since the resumption: the Section has been beaten twice before rising up against Lyon (30-14), while the CO has just suffered a halt against Montpellier ( 17-22). The Béarnais could take advantage of this momentum to pass the Tarnais in the standings.
(20h45) Clermont – Brive. The reaction of the French champion is expected after the slap received at La Rochelle, which passed 7 tests in forty minutes. To erase the defensive bounties observed at Marcel-Deflandre will be the watchword for the Auvergnats, who can again count on Morgan Parra and Sébastien Vahaamahina, back from injury. The start of the nightmarish season of Brive, zero point after three days, could continue. But if the Brivists succeeded in imposing themselves on Marcel-Michelin, it would be the ASM that would swing in the crisis.
(12h30) Racing 92 – Oyonnax. Victorious in Brive (25-6), the Racing, whose start of calendar is advantageous, points to a 2nd place that can strengthen before seeing its agenda harden (Clermont, Lyon, La Rochelle). The promoted Oyonnax does not seem to make the weight, but the Francilians should help themselves from the defeat of 2014 (17-21) not to fall in the excess of confidence.
Top 14 J3 CL
(16h50) Montpellier – Toulon. It is the poster of the day between the new terror of the championship and the old on the road to renewal. An opposition between two stars constellated thanks to the ability to attract presidents whose recruitment policy was – Mourad Boudjellal – and remains – Mohed Altrad – very contested. It is also the great return to the Altrad Stadium of Fabien Galthié, the former coach of the MHR with which the collaboration ended before the prud’hommes, and François Trinh-Duc, who will find his former teammates Fulgence Ouedraogo and Louis Picamoles. It is still a face-to-face that promises between two coaches at the beginning of the mandate, Galthié and Vern Cotter. Finally, it was the clash between the leader (14 points out of 15) and one of his first pursuers (4th).
(14h45) Toulouse – French Stadium
(18h00) Agen – La Rochelle
Lyon – Bordeaux-Begles
Pau – Castres
(20h45) Clermont – Brive
(12h30) Racing 92 – Oyonnax
(16h50) Montpellier – Toulon