Montpellier vs Grenoble
Competition: French Top 14
Date: 8 April 2017
Kick-off: 18:30 CET
This clash has massive significance for Montpellier as they look to move into the top two on the Top 14 log. They’re currently third on the table and have a game in hand over the top two sides, La Rochelle and Clermont. There are still eight points between Clermont and Montpellier on the log but that could change in the last four rounds.
Montpellier have enjoyed a successful season in what is Jake White’s final year as coach. The former Springbok coach and World Cup winner will be hoping to leave the club on a high note and these last few weeks will be crucial in building momentum for the knockout stages of the competition.
They’re at home for this clash and will want to redeem themselves after a three point loss to Brive on Sunday in extra time.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Grenoble are looking to save some face before they are relegated from the Top 14. They lie second from the bottom of the log with just six wins in 22 matches. They are 11 points adrift of 13th placed Stade Francais and it would take a miracle for them to climb out of the relegation zone.
Grenoble was also blighted by off-field drama after six of their players were implicated in a rape incident last month. Those players have since been reinstated to play after no charges were filed, but the incident would not have helped their quest to stay in the French Top 14 this season.
Both teams are also coming off a break in the Top 14 last weekend – which evens the playing field somewhat.
Montpellier vs Grenoble: Current form
Jake White’s team have been inconsistent of late, which has hampered their quest to break into the top two. Before their bye week, Montpellier suffered a three point defeat to Brive. They would have been disappointed with that result, having beaten Clermont the previous weekend.
Despite the off-field drama, Grenoble have managed two impressive outings in their last couple of fixtures. They beat Castre in a nail-biter two weeks ago and managed a draw with Toulon in the height of the rape scandal while the week prior to that they got a hiding Bordeaux.
Montpellier vs Grenoble: Prediction
While we’d love to support the underdog in this one, Montpellier is the firm favourite to win this match. They’ve got home ground advantage and are fresh from a break. Grenoble have also enjoyed a bye week, but the off-field distractions and a hostile crowd will be too much to handle.
Montpellier vs Grenoble: Tips
Montpellier’s forward pack has been dominant this season, so bank on their forwards dominating the set piece and scoring a couple of tries from rolling mauls. They should get a bonus point in this match.