Top 14 – Clash of the Titans

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With just four games to go to the play-offs, it was time for teams to stand up and be counted

What a good way to start the week-end: the league leaders playing against the second-placed team. ASM Clermont versus Toulon. While Clermont still remained unbeaten in their stadium of Marcel Michelin, Toulon had opportunities to stop this invincibility but it wasn’t to be and Clermont won with a score of 22-16.

Montpellier had to overcome an highly motivated Oyonnax and the snowy conditions to win 22-8. Montpellier now stand in third place with the same points as Toulon, who are currently in second place.

The two “Stades” – Toulouse and Stade Français – had a drawn game with 27-27 but Toulouse left Paris very satisfied as they were down 8-27 at the break. Then, Toulouse simply scored 21-0 in the second half. Those two points secured for the draw might make the difference before the play-offs. Needless to say, Toulouse has two difficult games ahead, with Toulon next week and then the quarter final of the H-Cup, in Thomond Park, against the Province of Munster.

After 18 years in the Top 14 and twice winners, Biarritz will not be playing next year in the Top 14. Perpignan with a 16-10 victory over them, have definitively ended any hopes that Biarritz might have had.

It was also not good news coming from the other Basque town with Bayonne losing to UBB Bordeaux 22-23. UBB can still dream of making the play-offs for its first year in the Top 14.

It is something of a euphemism to say that every point is critical in the coming weeks. This is the reason that Racing Métro can be very satisfied with their win in Grenoble 26-13. The team-mates of Johnny Sexton have played an excellent game and at the right time; Racing can still qualify for the play-offs.

Castres had no other alternative than to win at home against Brives. Before the game, Castres were lying in sixth place and therefore holding the last “ticket” for the play-offs. Castres did it, with style and strength with a 38-6 scoreline and the bonus point. This puts Castres in fourth place.

Top 14 Standings – Day 23

Pos Team Total Points Bonus Points Played Won Draw Lost For Against Pts Diff
1 ASM Clermont 64 10 22 13 1 8 581 419 162
2 Toulon 61 10 22 12 1 9 543 372 171
3 Montpellier 61 11 22 12 1 9 532 436 96
4 Castres 60 5 22 12 1 9 487 393 94
5 Stade Français 58 11 22 13 1 8 436 400 36
6 Toulouse 57 9 22 11 1 10 447 374 73
7 Racing Métro 92 56 4 22 12 2 8 358 369 -11
8 Union Bordeaux-Bègles 54 11 21 11 0 10 497 463 34
9 Brive 51 10 22 9 2 11 406 400 6
10 Grenoble 50 4 22 11 1 10 393 490 -97
11 Perpignan 46 7 22 9 1 12 406 487 -81
12 Bayonne 44 8 22 9 0 13 329 453 -124
13 Oyannax 39 3 21 9 0 12 342 477 -135
14 Biarritz 24 6 22 4 0 18 294 518 -224
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