These are desperate times for Brive, Biarritz, Bayonne and Lyon as the spectre of relegation haunts them. Biarritz have so improved of late that they look the most likely to survive, troubled Bayonne the most likely for the long drop. This weekend they head across to Toulon who will be bristling with anger after their suspension of their owner, Mourad Boudjellal.
Ambitions are different at the top of the log. Ending in the top six means play-offs and a real chance of winning the Bouclier de Brennus. The first eight all have a real chance of ending in the top six.
The top match is probably the Paris encounter between Racing and Toulouse but the match between Montpellier and Stade Français could be a nail-biter.
Fixtures, Round 16
Friday, 27 January 2012
20.45: Montpellier vs Stade Français at Stade Yves du Manoir - Montpellier
Saturday, 28 January 2012
14.15: Brive vs Perpignan at Stade Amédée-Domenech
14.15: Castres vs Biarritz at Stade Pierre-Antoine
14.15: Lyon vs Agen at Stade Matmut
14.15: Toulon vs Bayonne at Stade Mayol
16.45: Racing Métro 92 vs Toulouse at Stade Yves du Manoir
20.45: Bordeaux-Bègles vs Clermont at Stade André-Moga
Log after Round 15
Lyon and Bordeaux-Bègles each have a game in hand.
1 Toulouse 56
2 Clermont 50
3 Toulon 40
4 Castres 40
5 Stade Français 39
6 Racing-Métro 36
7 Agen 36
8 Montpellier 35
9 Bordeaux 30
10 Perpignan 27
11 Brive 24
12 Biarritz 23
13 Bayonne 23
14 Lyon 20
Prediction: We suggest victories for Montpellier even though Stade Français have shown good form recently, Perpignan, Castres, Agen, Toulon, Toulouse and Clermont.
Bayonne have wing Yoann Huget and Australian lock Mark Chisholm looks set to make his Top 14 debut.
Alexis Palisson is back for Toulon but their Fijian centre Gabrieli Lovobalavu is out.
With Thibault Privat suspended and Mickaël De Marc injured big, rugged Mamuka Gorgodze moves into lock for Montpellier.
Montpellier: 15 Lucas Amorosino, 14 Yoan Audrin, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Martín Bustos Moyano, 10 François Trinh-Duc (captain), 9 Julien Tomas, 8 Masini Matadigo, 7 Rémy Martin, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Mamuka Gorgodze, 4 Drikus Hancke, 3 George Jgenti, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Na'ama Leleimalefaga
Replacements: 16 Michael Ladhuie, 17 Juan Figallo, 18 Alikisio Fakate, 19 Alex Tulou, 20 Benoît Paillaugue, 21 Santiago Fernandez, 22 Timoci Nagusa, 23 Maximiliano Bustos
Stade Français: 15 Paul Warwick, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Paul Williams, 12 Martin Rodriguez, 11 Julien Arias, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Pierre Rabadan, 6 David Lyons, 5 Pascal Papé, 4 Gerhard Mostert, 3 David Attoub, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Rodrigo Roncero
Replacements: 16 Aled De Malmanche, 17 Olivier Milloud, 18 Alexandre Flanquart, 19 Antoine Burban, 20 Byron Kelleher, 21 Morgan Turinui, 22 Jules Plisson, 23 Stanley Wright.
Bayonne squad: Aretz Iguiniz, Vitolio Manukula, François Da Ros, David Roumieu, Neemia Tialata, Renaud Boyoud, Rob Linde, Abdel Boutaty, Mark Chisholm, Guillaume Bernad, Sione Lauaki, Marc Baget, Julien Puricelli, Dwayne Haare, Cédric Garcia, Mike Phillips, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Benjamin Boyet, Thibault Lacroix, Lionel Mazars, Sam Gerber, Yoann Huget, Marvin O'Connor, Cédric Heymans.
Perpignan squad: Kisi Pulu, Perry Freshwater, Jérôme Schuster, Nicolas Mas, Danie Thiart, Charles Geli, Guilhem Guirado, Marius Tincu, Romain Taofifenua, Robins Tchale Watchou, Olivier Olibeau, Gerrie Britz, Ovidiu Tonita, Damien Chouly, Bertrand Guiry, Grégory Le Corvec, Jean-Pierre Perez, David Mélé, Florian Cazenave, Kevin Boulogne, James Hook, Gavin Hume, Maxime Mermoz, David Marty, Rudy Coetzee, Farid Sid, Nicolas Laharrague, Adrien Planté, Jérôme Porical.
Toulon squad: Steffon Armitage, Bakkies Botha, Sébastien Bruno, Joe El Abd, Laurent Emmanuelli, Pierrick Gunther, Carl Hayman, Davit Kubriashvili, Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Jean-Charles Orioli, Christophe Samson, Simon Shaw, Joe van Niekerk, Mathieu Bastareaud, Fabien Cibray, Matt Giteau, Benjamin Lapeyre, Geoffroy Messina, Alexis Palisson, Luke Rooney, David Smith, Sébastien Tillous-Borde, Jonny Wilkinson.
Montpellier vs Stade Français at Stade Yves du Manoir - Montpellier
Referee: Romain Poite
Assistant referees: Patrick Pechambert, Laurent Sclafer
Television match official: Gérard Borreani
Brive vs Perpignan at Stade Amédée-Domenech
Referee: Christophe Berdos
Assistant referees: Christophe Labaune, Didier Dussaut
Television match official: Laurent Valin
Castres vs Biarritz at Stade Pierre-Antoine
Referee: Pascal Gauzere
Assistant referees: David Rosich, René Bordeneuve
Television match official: Jean-Marie Piraveau
Lyon vs Agen at Stade Matmut
Referee: Jérôme Garces
Assistant referees: Jérôme Lamirand, Patrick Beuriot
Television match official: Daniel Irazoqui
Toulon vs Bayonne at Stade Mayol
Referee: Sébastien Cloute
Assistant referees: Jean-Luc Rebollal, Christophe Clavere
Television match official: Bruno Bessot
Racing Métro 92 vs Toulouse at Stade Yves du Manoir
Referee: Cyril Lafon
Assistant referees: Christophe Dutreuilh, Jean-Michel Schutz
Television match official: Hervé Dubes
Bordeaux-Bègles vs Clermont at Stade André-Moga
Referee: Franck Maciello
Assistant referees: Eric Soulan, Régis Gabard
Television match official: J Matheu
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