Parisian Derby provides Finn Russell with final chance to impress Lions' coaches

Parisian Derby provides Finn Russell with final chance to impress Lions' coaches

While La Rochelle, Bordeaux and Toulouse look to book a place in the Champions Cup final this weekend other TOP14 clubs will be playing catch up.



 
 
Relegation-threatened Bayonne head into their clash on Thursday with Castres with a game in hand over Pau and have a three league point advantage over the 13th placed side.
 
 
On Saturday, the Parisian derby takes place with Racing 92 hosting Stade Francais. Clermont will look to close the gap on second-placed La Rochelle as they host Brive at the Stade Marcel Michelin. At the same time on Saturday, Toulon play their first game since 27 March as they face off against relegation-bound Agen. 
 
 
 
FIXTURES
TOP 14 Fixtures (UK Kick-off times)
 
Bayonne v Castres
 
 
Bayonne have been a tough team to beat at home this season and will be looking to add Castres to the list of top half of the table teams to lose at the Stade Jean Dauger. However, that will be no easy task as Castres have won four of their last five games, with that loss coming at the hands of Racing 92.
 
 
Castres were not in action last weekend but managed to claim a 26-24 victory over a young Toulouse team last time out. Bayonne, meanwhile, will look to get their fight for survival back on track after their loss to Pau in mid-April losing 43-33 to Pau. 
 
 
A win for Bayonne is crucial with a tough run of fixtures ahead. After their clash with Castres, they host Bordeaux before facing off against Toulouse, Montpellier and finally Stade Francais. 
 
 
Racing 92 v Stade Francais
 
 
Gael Fickou's former employers take the short trip up to the Paris La Defense Arena for the Paris derby. 
 
 
Racing head into the encounter off the back of a 34-16 loss to Toulouse. However, Racing could welcome the return of Scottish international Finn Russell who served the final week of his ban last weekend. 
 
 
The game provides Russell with the final opportunity to impress Warren Gatland and his coaching staff ahead of the British and Irish Lions squad announcement next Thursday.
 
 
A win for Stade Francais could see them force their way back into contention for a playoff game despite just winning 10 of their 21 games in the competition to-date. 
 
 
For Racing 92, a win could see them close the gap on La Rochelle in second place while Racing and Clermont head into the action with the same points tally (59).
 
 
Clermont v Brive
 
Two teams in need of a victory for differing reasons. Franck Azema will be hoping for a strong finish to his time as Clermont coach and Brive may well just be the first step in achieving that. 
 
 
Clermont are level on points with Racing 92 as the two sides battle it out for third place with La Rochelle six points ahead of their pair. Clermont have a difficult run into the end of the season with all four of their remaining fixtures featuring sides vying for a place in the playoffs. 
 
 
A victory for Brive will take them even closer to avoiding a relegation-promotion playoff with the second-placed side in the PROD2. Brive have two games in hand over Pau in 13th place and have an eight-point advantage. Brive have won 10 of their 20 games so far this season, however, they will need a similar kind of effort in their final six games of the season to retain their TOP14 status. That won't be an easy task with clashes with Stade Francais, La Rochelle, Lyon, Castres and Racing 92 following this weekend's match. 
 
 
Toulon v Agen
 
Toulon could not have asked for a better fixture as they return to action after 35 days without any games. Patrice Collazo's side front up against Agen who have no chance of staying up in the TOP14. They are yet to win a single TOP14 game all season and with a bad taste in their mouth from their exit from the Champions Cup, Toulon will be steaming for the encounter.
 
 
An angry Toulon will be a dangerous Toulon. Don't be surprised with a massive scoreline in this one. When the two sides met in November, Toulon scored five tries in a 9-38 victory with a relatively understrength side with Isaia Toeava playing out of position at flyhalf. 
 
 
TOP 14 STANDING
 
 

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