Top14 Round 3: Preview and Predictions

Bottom of the table Mont-de-Marsan face the daunting prospect of unbeaten big spending Toulon with Jonny Wilkinson in fine point scoring form.
The World Cup winner kicked all the points in their opening 21-15 away win at Perpignan and was again instrumental in last week’s victory at Racing Metro.
Joining Wilkinson in the Toulon line-up are fellow English internationals Andrew Sheridan, Steffon and Dylan Armitage, who will be expected to improve his discipline after he was yellow carded in Round 2.
Simon Shaw will be on the bench alongside mercurial fly-half Frederic Michalak who will make his first appearance since joining from SuperRugby finalists Sharks.
World cup winner Ian Balshaw and Welsh wing Aled Brew are both selected in Biarritz’s team for their top of the table clash with defending champions Toulouse who will be hoping for an improved performance after unconvincing victories over Castres and Mont-De-Marsan.
Lee Byrne starts at full-back while Nathan Hines is selected at lock in Clermont’s tussle with struggling Perpignan who will be hoping Alasdair Strokosch and new signing Richard Haughton can bring their experience from the bech to help them achieve their first win of the season.
Wales and Lions scrum-half Mike Phillips is only selected on the bench for Bayonne’s trip to Castres who include Scotland international Max Evans and former Worcester wing Marcel Garvey in their squad.
Scottish prop Euan Murray makes his first start for Agen against Montpellier as they seek to pick up their first win of the season after narrow home defeats against Racing Metro and Biarritz.
Paul Sackey is given the chance to impress on the wing for Stade Francais in their away game with Grenoble.
Racing Metro face Bourdeaux-Begles, who are coached by Raphael Ibanez and Joe Worsley, in a mid-table encounter.
PREDICTIONS
Biarritz v Toulouse – Biarritz will edge it (I hope so anyway).
Castres v Bayonne – new year same woes for Bayonne, Big Castres win.
Montpellier v Agen – Agen will be in the red zone after this one, Montpellier win.
Racing Metro v Bourdeaux Begles – Big win for Racing in perspective.
Mont-De-Marsan v Toulon – Hard to see past a win from Jonny’s boys.
Grenoble v Stade Français – Tough one but Grenoble might just do it.
Clermont v Perpignan – Same as Agen for Perpignan, Clermont will be too strong.

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