With the return of the Pro 12 and the Aviva Premiership there are no shortage of games to watch this weekend. To give you a heads-up on how you might want to prioritize, here are the match-ups for the fourth week of Top 14, based on our latest Power Rankings.
- Clermont Auvergne (Ranked #3) vs. Racing Metro (#5). So, last week Racing Metro took Toulon down a peg. Can they do the same to Clermont? It will be interesting to see what their lineup looks like without Jonathan Sexton. He’s out for a while with injury, and just confirmed today he’s leaving at the end of the season to return to Leinster. Will someone step-up in his absence, or will this hasten the search for a longterm replacement? Based on the arms-race among the rich clubs in Top 14, I suspect that Racing Metro would be looking for a big name.
Worth a look:
- Montpellier (#4) vs. Castres (#11). If this was the first game of the season, my pre-season rankings would have had this a #2 vs. #5 match-up. That pretty much tells you how underwhelming both sides have been so far.
- Toulon (#1) vs. Bordeaux Begles (#7). Toulon lost last week. I’m of the opinion that this is bad news for their next opponent. Welp, it’s been nice knowing you Bordeaux.
- Brive (#12) vs. Toulouse (#2). Similar to Toulon, I see this as a bounce-back week for Toulouse on the road at Brive.
Only for the hard-core:
- Lyon (#9) vs. Oyonnax (#10). Regional rivalry!
- Stade Français (#6) vs. Bayonne (#13). This won’t tell us much about SF, as they play another weak opponent. I’ve already warned you not to get too hyped on the Boys in Pink. If they win, we’ll just be delaying things (their following opponent is Toulon). If they lose to Bayonne, I’ll finally be justified to let them drop in the rankings.
- Grenoble (#8) vs. La Rochelle (#14). Should be a chance for Grenoble to get a foothold in the top half.