While the World Cup is trumpeting itself abroad, France's Top 14, without so many players, is banging on. Already it is Round 5. Already there is no such thing as an unbeaten side, already there are upsets.
This weekend Saturday's match in Toulon could be the most interesting.
Fixtures, Round 5
Friday, 23 September 2011
20.00: Montpellier vs Bordeaux at Stade Yves du Manoir (Montpellier)
20.00: Biarritz vs Perpignan at Parc des Sports D'Aguilera
20.00: Clermont vs Bayonne at Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin
20.00: Castres vs Brive at Stade Pierre Antoine
20.00: Racing-Métro vs Lyon at Stade Yves du Manoir (Colombes)
20.45: Agen vs Toulouse at Stade Armandie
Saturday, 24 September 2011
16.00: Toulon vs Stade Français at Stade Mayol
Log after Round 4
A lot of this could change after the World Cup when clubs get a lot of top players back. Montpellier, for example, are winless but have 11 players in New Zealand.
1 Clermont 17
2 Toulouse 14
3 Castres 14
4 Perpignan 12
5 Stade Français 11
6 Toulon 10
7 Racing Métro 10
8 Agen 10
9 Brive 7
10 Bayonne 6
11 Lyon 5
12 Bordeaux 4
13 Montpellier 3
14 Biarritz 3
Predictions: Victories for Montpellier, Perpignan, Clermont, Castres, Racing-Métro, Toulouse and Stade Français.
When/if we get them, we shall keep publishing them.
Bayonne are without Troy Flavell who has been suspended for punching. They are also without big Sione Lauaki who is ill. Hooker François Da Ros is out injured.
Durban-born Australian Dale Haylett-Petty is back from injury and starts while Erik Lund comes onto the bench for Biarritz.
Bordeaux-Begles are without wing Rafaël Carballo who has been suspended for 20 days for using a boot on a player on the ground when his side played Bayonne. Also suspended hooker Fabien Rofes still has 10 days of his suspension to serve.
Brive have roped in 37-year-old prop Pierre Capdevielle for three months as a medical joker to shore up their front row as they are without Victor Laval and Guillaume Ribes who are injured.
Castres get back scrumhalf Alexandre Albouy, hooker Marc-Antoine Rallier and centre Pierre-Emmanuel Garcia. Still out injured are Georgian prop Anton Peikrishvili, scrumhalf Thierry Lacrampe and wing Vincent Iñigo who broke a rib against Agen.
Perpignan get back Sébastien Vaha'amahina, Bertrand Guiry, Rudi Coetzee and Kevin Boulogne.
Jonathan Wisniewski, who left the field with cramp against Toulouse, is back in the Racing-Métro side.
Stade Français have moved Byron Kelleher off the bench to start while wing Djibril Camara, flank Hugues Briatte and loosehead Milloud are also in the starting XV.
Toulouse again have brought 'retired' Jean-Baptise into their side to replace Mar Doussain who is in New Zealand.
Biarritz: 15 Dale Haylett-Petty, 14 Iain Balshaw, 13 Philippe Bidabé, 12 Ilikena Bolakoro, 11 Daniel Caprice, 10 Julien Peyrelongue, 9 Yann Lesgougues, 8 Florian Faure (captain), 7 Tanguy Molcard, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Pelu Taele, 4 Jérôme Thion, 3 Sylvain Marconnet, 2 Arnaud Héguy, 1 Eduard Coetzee
Replacements: 16 Romain Terrain, 17 Watremez, 18 Erik Lund, 19 Talalelei Gray, 20 Guyot, 21 Jean-Pascal Barraque, 22 Seremaia Burotu, 23 Albertus Buckle
Perpignan squad: Perry Freshwater, Jérôme Schuster, Benoît Bourrust, Thomas Dubois, Joffrey Brison, S Taofifenua, Maxime Delonca, Robins Tchale Watchou, Olivier Olibeau, Romain Taofifenua, Sébastien Vaha'amahina, Grégory Le Corvec, Romain Bézian, Bertrand Guiry, Jean-Pierre Perez, Damien Chouly, Florian Cazenave, Kevin Boulogne, Bosch, Gavin Hume, Rudi Coetzee, Ryan Cross, Farid Sid, Armand Battle, Joffrey Michel, Jérôme Porical.
Racing-Métro: 15 Gaëtan Germain, 14 Sireli Bobo, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Julien Saubade, 10 Jonathan Wisniewski, 9 Nicolas Durand, 8 Sébastien Chabal, 7 Jone Qovu, 6 Jacques Cronjé, 5 Santiago Dellapè, 4 Karim Ghezal, 3 Mickaël Tu'ugahala, 2 Gregory Arganèse, 1 Julien Brugnaut
Replacements: 16 Noirot, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Antoine Battut, 19 Julien Côme, 20 Sébastien Descons, 21 Virimi Vakatawa, 22 Bernard Le Roux, 23 Johan Coetzee
Stade Français: 15 Alexander Rokobaro, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Morgan Turinui, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Djibril Camara, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Byron Kelleher, 8 David Lyons, 7 Pierre Rabadan, 6 Hugues Briatte, 5 Alexandre Flanquart, 4 Anton van Zyl, 3 Stanley Wright, 2 Bonfils, 3 Olivier Milloud
Replacements: 16 Aled De Malmanche, 17 David Attoub, 18 Antoine Burban, 19 Leiataua Tomiki, 20 Jérôme Fillol, 21 Julien Dupuy, 22 Jean-Baptiste Gobelet, 23 Rabah Slimani
Montpellier vs Bordeaux at Stade Yves du Manoir (Montpellier)
Referee: Salem Attalah
Assistant referees: Christophe Berdos, Bruno Fiche
Television match official: Eric Gauzins
Biarritz vs Perpignan at Parc des Sports D'Aguilera
Referee: Jean-Luc Rebollal
Assistant referees: Patrick Pechambert, Philippe Gorbenko
Television match official: Bernard Dal Maso
Clermont vs Bayonne at Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin
Referee: Céderic Marchat
Assistant referees: Stephan Pomarède, Jérôme Lamarque
Television match official: Hervé Dubes
Castres vs Brive at Stade Pierre Antoine
Referee: Sébastien Minery
Assistant referees: Jérôme Lamirand, Pascal Ubeda
Television match official: David Rosich
Racing Métro vs Lyon at Stade Yves du Manoir (Colombes)
Referee: Sébastien Cloute
Assistant referees: Pascal Gauzere, Christophe Clavere
Television match official: Jean-Pierre Pellaprat
Agen vs Toulouse at Stade Armandie
Referee: Cyril Lafon
Assistant referees: Arnaud Blondel, Jean-Michel Schutz
Television match official: Eric Gonthier
Toulon vs Stade Français at Stade Mayol
Referee: Mathieu Raynal
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona, Thomas Dejean
Television match official: Daniel Gillet
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