THE FRENCH domestic season reaches its climax on Saturday evening as Toulon take on Toulouse in front of a full house at the Stade de France. Reigning champions Toulouse are seeking their 19th league title while their opponents are appearing in their first final since beating Biarritz in 1992. Despite the discrepancy in recent honours
Posted 351 days ago
Posted 359 days ago
AS THE Home Nations gear up for Down Under, across the Channel in France the Top 14 is coming to the boil, writes Gavin Mortimer.
The French domestic season is a bit like Simon Shaw’s career in that one wonders if it will ever end. Ten months after the 2011-12 campaign began we have four clubs left standing.
Saturday’s semi-final pits the…
Posted 366 days ago
IN FRANCE they call them ‘les barrages’, in English we’d call them ‘play-offs’; perhaps the best description is the Top 14 quarter-finals, which is in effect what unfolds on Saturday when Castres host Montpellier and Racing Metro visit Toulon, writes Gavin Mortimer.
At stake is a semi-final place the following weekend with the winner of the first tie facing Toulouse and…
Posted 387 days ago
By Gavin Mortimer
TWO ROUNDS of the Top 14 to go and down at the foot of the table it’s looking tight. Lyon are doomed, that much is sure, even though the club clearly doesn’t intend to hang around too long in Division Two. Last month they announced the signings of Lionel Nallet and Sebastien Chabal which, along with the probable…
Posted 394 days ago
They began camping out the day before tickets went on sale at Clermont’s ground for Sunday’s Heineken Cup clash with Leinster, writes Gavin Mortimer.
Such is the fervour for all things rugby in this part of France. That and the growing belief among the Clermont faithful that the club is on course for an historic double – the Top 14 title…
Posted 400 days ago
An end of an era is approaching in Perpignan and the fans are getting teary at the prospect. After nine seasons loosehead prop Perry Freshwater is retiring at the end of the season and his loss will be immeasurable to the Catalan club, writes Gavin Mortimer.
The New Zealand-born Englishman arrived at Perpignan in 2003 after eight years with Leicester Tigers…
Posted 408 days ago
NO DOUBT about it, Shane Geraghty’s stint in Brive has been eventful, writes Gavin Mortimer. The 25-year-old was to the fore again on Sunday, steering the unfashionable French club into the semi-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup courtesy of a 15-11 defeat of the Scarlets. As usual Geraghty made sure his shock of blond hair was noticed, not just by…
Posted 415 days ago
Toulouse backs coach Jean-Baptiste Elissalde couldn’t help crowing after his side’s impressive defeat of Stade Francais last Saturday, writes Gavin Mortimer.
In front of 80,000 fans at the Stade de France, Toulouse warmed up for this weekend’s trip to Edinburgh with a clinical 22-18 victory to consolidate their position at the head of the Top 14. Afterwards Elissalde tweeted: “Regards our…
Posted 427 days ago
A three-time Lions tourist, Simon Shaw spent 14 years at Wasps and has represented England in 71 Tests and at three World Cups. Here are a few things you might not know about Toulon’s newest lock…
I needed a change. The move to Toulon came at the right time because I wanted a new experience. I needed something completely different and I came with an open mind
Posted 629 days ago
For all the Rugby World Cup fixtures including UK kick off times click here. All games live ITV and Talksport
Sunday 4 September
N’hampton v Gloucester (3.30)
Live on Sky Sports 1
Friday 9 September
Quins v Northampton (7.45)
Live on ESPN
Sale v London Irish (7.45pm)
Currie Cup - Lions v Griquas (6.10pm), Live on Sky Sports 4
Saturday 10 September
Exeter v Newcastle (3pm)
Gloucester v Worcester (3pm)