We preview Saturday's Top 14 clash between Racing Metro and Bayonne.
Bayonne, who sit at the foot of the top 14 table, will have it all to do when they take on tenth-placed Racing 92 at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir on Saturday
Racing Metro 92 v Bayonne | Saturday 11 February | Stade Yves du Manoir | 21:45
To Win (80 mins)
Racing 92 1/100 | Draw 38/1 | Bayonne 11/1
It really has been a rather astonishing campaign for them, especially considering the wealth of talent at the club's disposal. Off-field scandals (such as the one Springbok utility back Johan Goosen has been embroiled in) and the loss of many key players' form haven't aided "Les Racingmen" this season, but even so, their plight still seems unbelievable.
Their most recent fixture at Lyon ended 25-37 in favour of the home side, meaning coaches Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers must surely be just a few more poor performances away from the sack. Considering how ruthless the Top 14 club's owners are in France (akin to those you'd find in the world of modern-day football), it really is surprising that they both still have jobs. Despite this, they will both feel confident about maintaining a sense of continuity in their squad, seeing as only two of their players were called up for Six Nations duty. They will believe that they can begin to slowly turn the tide, starting at home to Bayonne on Saturday.
Bayonne sit in last place on the Top 14 standings, having won just four of their sixteen games so far. This season has proved a tough one for Jean Monribot and his boys and they will have to start producing quality performances thick and fast if they are to avoid relegation this season. However, with a tough few fixtures ahead of them in the coming weeks, the competition will only become increasingly harder for them. The side with a host of different nationalities within its ranks has struggled to assert itself this season, and their most recent 33-24 defeat of Brive at home was seen as a huge relief, ending what was a five-match losing streak.
Verdict: Racing Metro 1/100
Bayonne will find the going tough against a hungry Racing 92 side playing at home, and one that has just lost two on-the-bounce, so it won't be a shock to see this Bayonne team come out second-best once again. A squad lacking the required chemistry, and a coach seemingly out of his depth should continue to struggle again this weekend - don't be surprised to see them beaten by twenty points or more.