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‘Big Clubs’

2017-02-15 by Liam Del Carme

Preview

Bath Rugby v Harlequins
Don't read too much into the fact that Bath are fourth in the Premiership standings, while Harlequins are sixth. Bath beat Northampton Saints 32-30 last weekend. Rhys Priestland won it with the last kick of the game. They've been in a few tantalising finishes of late having lost by a point to Newcastle Falcons and having drawn against Gloucester at the end of last month.
Harlequins come into the game with greater momentum having crushed Bristol 42-8 away from home last week. They have however been inconsistent with three wins and three losses from their last six matches. Bath are slight favourites.

Racing 92 v Brive
Racing lost to Lyon in their last match. They also lost away to Munster before that. The defending champions' season has been a big disappointment and although they are in eighth place they are just five points off third. It is interesting that despite their lowly log position they've won just one match less than log leaders La Rochelle.
Brive aren't exactly setting the world alight either. They are down in 10th but have won just one match fewer than Racing. The hosts should win this.

Toulon v Lyon
The giants are down in fifth with Coach Mike Ford still trying to establish himself in the south of France. Their try scoring prowess has remained but they are letting in more tries than one has become used to. Toulon come off successive defeats – their last coming at home when now log leaders La Rochelle won 23-20. Only Brive had previously achieved the feat of winning in Toulon in the Top14 this season. Lyon's only away win this season in the Top14 came at Grenoble and that is one of the reasons they are down in 12th place.

Bordeaux-Begles v Castres
Bordeaux produced two solid results in their most recent outings. They won away at Ulster before keeping formidable Clermont at bay by drawing 23-all. Their home form is less than convincing with the visitors having won on four occasions this season. Castres have only won away from home once this season and yet they occupy fourth spot. Bordeaux are down in ninth place but log position may not dictate the outcome of this one.

Montpellier v Toulouse
Montpellier who are third on the Top14 ladder have been in impressive form at home this season. Their only blemish came against the redoubtable Clermont who won early in the season. Jake White's team however are very difficult to break down on home soil. Toulouse suffered an unexpected setback at home in their last match when they slipped up against Pau. Toulouse who are seventh on the points table have won only twice away from home this season but they should give Montpellier a real run for their money.