Top 14 rugby returns after European action

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Updated: December 20, 2012

France’s Top 14 returns this weekend after a two-week break for Heineken Cup action with the big 3 all away from home.

Toulon, who are top with 47 points travel to second from bottom Agen, Toulouse on 42 are away to Grenoble and Clermont on 40 make the trip to Bordeaux.

Clermont are in action on Friday night and they will be full of confidence following their impressive 28-21 win over Leinster in Dublin.

Following the tough back to back games with Leinster, Clermont coach Vern Cotter has dug deep into his squad, making 14 changes including the return of international winger Julien Malzieu after seven months out with a calf-muscle injury.

Toulouse will be looking to bounce back from a troubling 17-6 loss away to Ospreys, but they will need to hold off a Grenoble side which has impressed so far this season, leaving them in sixth place and still in with a chance of making the playoffs.

For league leaders Toulon, the object will be different as they would happily settle for another performance like they one they produced last weekend with a 62-0 thumping of Sale at Stade Mayol.

Toulon will be without the services of fly-half Frederic Michalak and Springbok lock Bakkies Botha, who are both injured.

In other matches fourth-placed Castres host struggling Racing Metro, Perpignan take on Montpellier in a southeast derby, Stade Francais go up against Biarritz and Bayonne are at home to bottom club Mont-de-Marsan