Top 14 - Game of the Week
Perpignan travel to in-form Biarritz
October 2, 2009
Imanol Harinordoquy has been in fine form for Biarritz © Getty Images
Reigning Top 14 champions Perpignan are currently sitting top of the pile once again after comfortably defeating fierce rivals Clermont Auvergne 19-3 last weekend.
The Perpignan coaching team was left purring by a clinical display and will want no drop-off in intensity as their side travels to face in-form Biarritz at the Parc des Sports Aguilera on Saturday afternoon.
The home side are looking for their third win on the bounce after seeing off Toulon and Brive in recent rounds and are beginning to show flashes of their old dominant style.
They have begun to turn a corner after a dreadful time last season and will be committed to heading in to their first Heineken Cup game, against Glasgow next weekend, with their unbeaten run still intact.
Biarritz's experienced campaigners have stood up since the start of the season, with No.8 Imanol Harinordoquy, fly-half Valentin Courrent and scrum-half Dimitri Tachvili all scoring in last weekend's big win over Toulon. English duo Iain Balshaw and Ayoola Erinle miss out through injury this week however.
The champions travel with a lengthy injury list after scrum-half Nicolas Durand and fly-half Nicolas Laharrague were both ruled out. They join fullback Philip Burger, centre Maxime Mermoz, utility Gavin Hume and back-row Viliami Vaki on the treatment table. Farid Sid has been named in the squad despite injury fears.
With Clermont and Toulouse both likely to pick up points against Bayonne and Montpellier respectively, a backs to the wall effort may be required if the champions are to extend their lead at the top.
Biarritz: Bosch, Ngwenya, Gimenez, Traille, Brusque, Peyrelongue, Yachvili, Barcella, August, Johnstone, Thion, Taele-Pavihi, Lund, Vahafolau, Harinordoquy
Replacements: Hughes, Coetzee, Carizza, Lauret, Courrent, Tranier, Lesgourgues, Moala
Perpignan: Porical, Manas, Marty, Grandclaude, Candelon, Meyer, Mele, Freshwater, Tincu, Mas, Alvarez Kairelis, Tchale-Watchou, Chouly, Perez, Tuilagi
Replacements: Guirado, Schuster, Vilaceca, Vivalda, Cazenave, Sid, Michel, Pulu