The Hong Kong Telegraph - 'Every point counts' as Top 14 teams eye play-offs

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'Every point counts' as Top 14 teams eye play-offs
'Every point counts' as Top 14 teams eye play-offs

'Every point counts' as Top 14 teams eye play-offs

Toulouse, shorn of their international stars, paid a heavy domestic price for France's Six Nations triumph, having a terrible start to the year with a six-game losing streak.

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The defending Top 14 champions rebounded with a narrow win over Bordeaux-Begles and last week beat current leaders Montpellier 35-10 either side of a defeat by Stade Francais.

Now standing fifth in the Top 14, they face a real test when they host third-placed Lyon on Sunday, but can at least welcome back some of the 10 France internationals, including vital half-back pairing Antoine Dupont and Roman Ntamack, who helped the national side to the Grand Slam.

There are just six matches to the end of the regular Top 14 season, with up to 10 clubs still in the running for the top six play-off spots.

That fact was not lost on Lyon centre Thibaut Regard.

"We are not safe yet, although they are the only team to have always been in a qualifying position since the opening of the season!" he said.

"The table has never been so tight and no team is sure of anything. We don't have time to calculate, we have to play the last six games to the fullest to win as many as possible."

Second-placed Bordeaux-Begles travel to Stade Francais on Saturday and could potentially go top.

"It'll be a very complicated match against a team that is really on form, playing nice rugby and with few players out injured," Bordeaux coach Christophe Urios said.

Racing 92, sixth on 51 points are away at La Rochelle, one place and one point below them in the table.

"It's a very important match for the two clubs, in a a very tight championship where every point counts," Racing centre Henry Chavancy said.

Montpellier, atop the standings on 60 points, welcome Biarritz, staring at relegation back to ProD2 after just five wins from their 20 matches to date.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Clermont travel to Toulon, Brive host Castres and Pau welcome Perpignan.

Fixtures (all times GMT)


Toulon v Clermont (1400), Brive v Castres, Montpellier v Biarritz, Pau v Perpignan, La Rochelle v Racing 92 (all 1600), Stade Francais v Bordeaux-Begles (2005)


Toulouse v Lyon (1905)