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Top 14 Round 26: Preview
Play-off positions set to be decided
The Top 14 regular season comes to a climax this Saturday with the order of the play-off positions still to be confirmed.
Toulouse and Clermont have guaranteed a home semi-final, however Toulon, Montpellier, Castres and Racing Metro are all jockeying for positions in the remaining play-off spots - with Stade Francais only having a mathematical chance of breaking into the top six.
At the bottom, Brive are all but relegated - with only a remarkable result against Clermont and a collapse from Bayonne set to save them.
Toulouse will look to address their recent slump when they face .
Toulouse, who can claim top spot with victory, has lost six of their last nine games - however Montpellier have hit form at just the right time after a sticky start to the campaign.
Toulouse now have four hookers on their injury list after Georgian Jaba Bregvadze's season was ended prematurely be a neck injury, however Romain Millo-Chluski and Gurthro Steenkamp are fit to play though and should start.
Montpellier will be without injured skipper Fulgence Ouedraogo.
Brive face mission impossible at Clermontwhen they go hunting for the bonus point win they need to stand a chance of avoiding the drop.
Clermont haven't lost at the Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin in three years, though, while Brive have averaged just one try per game this season - so it seems unlikely the club will claim the points they are after.
After resting most of the first-choice team for the defeat to Castres, Clermont will recall their star names as they prepare for the semi-finals, with France international prop Thomas Domingo among those set to play.
Bayonne can't put the relegation debate, though, by collecting at least a point from their trip to Castres.
However the hosts have their sights set on a home play-off quarter-final, with Romain Teulet target the prize of the league's top points scorer.
Like Brive, Stade Francais are chasing an unlikely bonus point win - with the Parisians needing to thump Biarritz at the Parc des Sports d'Aguilera and for Agen to topple Racing Metro.
That scenario seems unthinkable considering Stade's away form this year. They have also lost on their last two visits to Biarritz.
French rugby's most-capped prop, Sylvain Marconnet (84 Tests), will play his last Top 14 game this weekend, against his former club.
Biarritz have lost Benoit Baby for the last two fixtures this season including next weekend's Amlin Challenge Cup final.
Racing Metro need to a point to secure their play-off berth when they face Agen.
Pierre Berbizier's team have shaken off their behind-the-scenes troubles to return to their best form at just the right time and will be looking to profit from the fact that Agen have nothing left to play for. The hosts have lost five of their last six games.
Racing centre, Fabrice Estebanez was rested in training this week after picking up a knock in the win over Stade Français last weekend but will travel.
Centre Henry Chavancy and lock Jone Qovu have, however, been left at home.
Toulon will want to send a message to their play-off rivals with a big win over already-relegated Lyon.
Toulon welcome back Joe El Abd and Dean Schofield while Steffon Armitage and Joe Van Niekerk have been rested.
There is a dead rubber when Bordeaux-Begles and Perpignan clash in a game that has no bearing on the key positions.
Perpignan will be without France hooker Guihem Guirado, who has been suspended following his red card for a dangerous tackle against Lyon last week. The visitors have also named a handful of youngsters in their squad.
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|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Brive vs Toulon|
|Saturday 20th September|
|15:00||Castres vs Oyonnax|
|15:00||Grenoble vs Bayonne|
|15:00||La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles|
|15:00||Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse|
|15:00||Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon|
|19:45||Montpellier vs Stade Francais|
|Saturday 27th September|
|16:00||Bayonne vs Toulouse|
|16:00||Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles|
|16:00||Toulon vs Montpellier|
|16:00||Stade Francais vs La Rochelle|
|16:00||Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne|
|16:00||Lyon vs Castres|
|16:00||Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris|
|Saturday 4th October|
|15:00||Toulouse vs Stade Francais|
|15:00||Bayonne vs Montpellier|
|15:00||Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne|
|15:00||Castres vs Grenoble|
|15:00||La Rochelle vs Lyon|
|15:00||Oyonnax vs Toulon|
|15:00||Racing Metro Paris vs Brive|
|Saturday 11th October|
|16:00||Clermont Auvergne vs La Rochelle|
|16:00||Bordeaux-Begles vs Castres|
|16:00||Toulouse vs Toulon|
|16:00||Grenoble vs Brive|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 Montpellier|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Toulon 24 - 28 Stade Francais|
|Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont Auvergne|
|Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive|
|Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble|
|Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 Lyon|
|Friday 12th September|
|La Rochelle 41 - 16 Castres|
|Saturday 6th September|
|Toulon 18 - 13 Bordeaux-Begles|
|Stade Francais 34 - 29 Bayonne|
|Grenoble 30 - 12 La Rochelle|
|Lyon 26 - 23 Oyonnax|
|Clermont Auvergne 32 - 6 Racing Metro Paris|
|Brive 26 - 19 Toulouse|
|Friday 5th September|
|Montpellier 43 - 10 Castres|
|Saturday 30th August|
|Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 Toulon|
|Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles|
|Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais|
|Lyon 24 - 6 Brive|
|Castres 30 - 6 Bayonne|
|La Rochelle 37 - 25 Toulouse|
|Friday 29th August|
|Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 Montpellier|
|Saturday 23rd August|
|Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon|
|Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax|
|Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris|
|Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com