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Top 14: big stakes on all levels



The 25th and penultimate day of the Top 14 should make it possible to see a little more clearly in the clashes raging on all levels of the ranking.

In what state of physical and mental form – after a high intensity match and a few days of celebration – will Toulouse appear against Clermont on Saturday night, a week after winning their fifth continental title at Twickenham? “It’s going to be hard to put the Top 14 disk back on,” Toulouse defense coach Laurent Thuéry did not hide. Psychologically, it is not easy to switch. The context of preparation for the match is particular. ”

The only club already guaranteed to play in the final phase, Stade Toulouse (1er, 73 points) must still give a boost to finish the regular season in one of the first two places directly qualifying for the semi-finals. Starting with the reception of Clermontois inevitably revenge after being out by the Red and Black in the quarter-finals of the European Cup. The Auvergne club (5th, 67 points) will have to compose without his second row Sébastien Vahaamahina, whose season is already over due to a herniated disc.

La Rochelle must bounce back without delay

In what state of physical and mental form – after a high intensity match and a few days of depression – will La Rochelle appear a week after failing against Toulouse in the continental final? The question has a particular importance in the race for maintenance since the Rochelais, who will want to console themselves in the championship, receive Pau, for the moment penultimate and barrage, with three points behind Bayonne.

The Bayonnais are also moving to another European finalist, Montpellier, winner of the Challenge, who has already played again in the middle of the week against Bordeaux-Bègles (defeat 57-9), but by turning a lot.

Who will join Toulouse in the final phase? From La Rochelle (2nd, 72 points) to Lyon (9th, 60 points), an ambitious gruppetto with long teeth seeks to stamp his ticket for the right wagon. Starting with the UBB (3rd, 72 points), whose trip to Toulon (6th, 62 points) will be the third game in less than a week.

Racing has rediscovered its colors

Christophe Urios’ men can hope to finish the regular season in one of the first two places, just like Racing 92 (4th, 68 pts). The Hauts-de-Seine club has rediscovered its colors after a complicated March-April period and has a very favorable schedule in the home stretch, first of all a trip to Agen, the red lantern.

Finally, in the race to the dams, Castres (8th, 60 points), who has a very good second part of the season, will try to revive in Brive after his defeat in Bordeaux two weeks ago, to keep a chance to slip in the six.

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