French Top 14 - Round 10 Preview
Biarritz lining up Toulouse scalp
October 22, 2009
Toulouse and Biarritz will get to know eachother once again on Saturday © Getty Images
Away from the bright lights of the Stade de France, there's plenty of bite in Round 10 of the Top 14.
While Perpignan's visit to Stade Francais is undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend's action, and our Game of the Week, the visit of Biarritz to Toulouse should see fireworks of a different kind. Biarritz lie third after they shocked the champions in the last round before the Heineken Cup break, while their hosts sit in fifth.
Both sides have had two good weeks in Europe and top Pools 2 and 5 respectively, and are coming off the back of wins away wins over British opposition with Toulouse snatching a win at Harlequins and Biarritz narrowly escaping Glasgow with a win.
Toulouse won the corresponding fixture last season, with Biarritz turning last year's semi finalists over when they visited the Basque country.
Top side Clermont Auvergne travel to a Montpellier side who lost to Connacht last week and sit second from bottom. Clermont have accumulated three bonus points thus far and will be hoping to add another on Saturday.
Last year's beaten finalists almost clawed back a 19 point deficit at the Ospreys in their second Heineken Cup game, but even on the back of that defeat the struggling hosts should lack sufficient quality to trouble Clermont.
Second placed Castres are a point behind Clermont and will be hoping to improve on that position with a win at third from bottom Bayonne. Toulon got the better of Castres in the Challenge Cup but they should be back to full strength this week.
Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon host Bourgoin in a mid-table battle that both sides need to win in order to keep pace with the top sides. The home side are currently seventh, with Bourgoin eighth and defeat could see a gap open up between the top and bottom halves of the table.
Toulon's win over Castres was followed by a win over Saracens, while Bourgoin narrowly escaped from Bucharest with a 21-19 win over Bucuresti which would suggest the hosts are in better shape going into the tie.
Meanwhile, Brive and Racing Metro come face to face after both sides suffered disappointing defeats in Europe. Brive's frailties were exposed at home by Leinster, while Racing fared somewhat better in losing 18-13 at London Wasps.
With Racing ninth and Brive tenth, this is an important fixture for the big spen ding clubs who would have expected to be further up the table based on their outlay at the start of the season.
Albi need a win over fourth from bottom Montauban to avoid being cut adrift at the bottom of the table after a dreadful start to the season that has seen them win just once.