Round 19 of the Top 14 kicks off at Stade Marcel-Deflandre with La Rochelle hosting Bayonne.
The home side were recently ousted from their spot at number 1 on the log by the fiery Toulouse, although they still have a game in hand with which they can reclaim it.
Bayonne are struggling by comparison, currently occupying 12th position on the table with 5 victories from 12 outings. They would have experienced the bitter taste of frustration after their last encounter – against Pau – in which they lost by a single point (23-22) on their home turf.
La Rochelle’s most recent game was a positive one for them as they ran out 43-13 victors against Agen – a dominant performance which saw a brace of tries for hard-running number 8 Gregory Alldritt and a hat-trick for Pierre Bourgarit.
Interestingly, in the abandoned 2019-20 tournament, it was Bayonne who left the pitch with the bragging rights, albeit only just, as they put one over La Rochelle 23-22 at Stade Jean Dauger in Round 5. It was a brilliant display from Bayonne who worked up lead and managed to defend it, even against a brutal onslaught from their opponents in the last five minutes.
However, the tables turned in Round 4 of the current competition which saw La Rochelle put a convincing 36-19 victory over Bayonne on the latter’s home turf.
Given the current form of these two sides in this instalment of the competition, it is difficult to see La Rochelle losing, with many expecting them to pick up a full five-point haul.