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Top 14 Round Five: Preview
Laporte eyes winning start to Toulon tenure
Bernard Laporte will look to start his tenure at Toulon with victory over former club Stade Francais this weekend.
Laporte took his first training since taking over from new France coach Philippe Saint-Andre on Monday.
"I'm not going to revolutionise the club but I have high level requirements," Laporte insisted.
"We can't be satisfied with recent results. We're going to work hard to take on Stade Français on Saturday. (Stade) are a good team, I worked on their recruitment, so I won't say the contrary."
Byron Kelleher starts for the Parisians for the first time, with England winger Paul Sackey set to face his former employers.
Five-time French champions Biarritz will be out to gain their first win of a thus far disastrous start to the Top 14 campaign on Friday when they host Perpignan.
Biarritz - who were last in the second tier in the 1995/96 season - are bottom of the table with just one draw in their four matches.
Although club president Serge Blanco is not ready to admit that the club is in a crisis, a defeat at the hands of old rivals Perpignan could plunge them into just such a scenario.
Biarritz will fancy their chances against a Perpignan side that has ground out a few results, but failed to impress this season.
BO welcome back Australian full-back Dane Haylett-Petty. Erik Lund is back, but starts from the bench.
USAP have named South African centre Gavin Hume at fly-half. Sébastien Vaha'amahina, Bertrand Guiry and Kevin Boulogne are back from injury but start from bench. Rudi Coetzee is in midfield.
Clermont have made light of missing a heap of stars and they will look to maintain their unbeaten record when they host Bayonne.
A young and inexperienced Clermont side gained an impressive 22-11 victory away at Racing-Metro last weekend which had coach Vern Cotter eulogising about their performance.
The hosts should be boosted by the return of experienced prop Vincent Debaty.
Sione Lauaki will not face his former team, the Bayonne loose forward is ill. The Basques are also without Troy Flavell who has been suspended for punching. Hooker François Da Ros is out injured.
Racing Metro for their part will look to bounce back after defeat to Clermont when they host newcomers Lyon.
Former France international Sebastien Chabal makes his first start of the season after recovering from a back injury, while fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski starts after being a doubt for most of the week.
Brive face a tough ask as they look to bounce back against Castres.
After a poor display on the opening weekend, Castres have been on the up and up ever since and are now third in the standings.
Scrum-half Alexandre Albouy returns for Castres as does centre Pierre-Emmanuel Garcia. Still out injured are Georgian prop Anton Peikrishvili, scrum-half Thierry Lacrampe and wing Vincent Inigo, who broke a rib against Agen.
Brive have attempted to address their front-row issues by signing veteran prop Pierre Capdevielle on a three-month contract.
With Davit Khinchagishvili and Vasil Kakovin both away on World Cup duty, and Pat Barnard, Pablo Henn and Victor Laval all injured, Capdevielle arrives on a temporary deal from Tulle.
Brive are also without England fly-half Shane Geraghty, with the summer signing facing up to four months out after shoulder surgery.
Last season's beaten finalists Montpellier will look to end their wait for a first win of the season when they take of Bordeaux.
Montpellier have been hit hard by the World Cup - with 11 players missing - and are under pressure to climb out of the drop zone.
Bordeaux, who have already beaten Bayonne this season, are without suspended duo Rafael Carballo and Fabien Rofes.
Defending champions Toulouse will look to build on their thumping of Biarritz when they travel to Agen.
Despite their long list of absentees, Toulouse can still boast a starting XV stacked with internationals, with former All Black Luke McAlister impressing since his arrival.
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Top 14 Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Montpellier vs Castres|
|Saturday 6th September|
|12:45||Brive vs Toulouse|
|15:00||Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris|
|16:30||Stade Francais vs Bayonne|
|16:30||Grenoble vs La Rochelle|
|16:30||Lyon vs Oyonnax|
|19:45||Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles|
|Saturday 13th September|
|16:00||Toulouse vs Clermont Auvergne|
|16:00||Oyonnax vs Grenoble|
|16:00||Bayonne vs Brive|
|16:00||Bordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier|
|16:00||Toulon vs Stade Francais|
|16:00||Racing Metro Paris vs Lyon|
|16:00||La Rochelle vs Castres|
|Saturday 20th September|
|15:00||Brive vs Toulon|
|15:00||Grenoble vs Bayonne|
|15:00||Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon|
|15:00||Montpellier vs Stade Francais|
|15:00||Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse|
|15:00||La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles|
|15:00||Castres vs Oyonnax|
|Saturday 27th September|
|16:00||Bayonne vs Toulouse|
|16:00||Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles|
|16:00||Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne|
|16:00||Lyon vs Castres|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com