French Top 14 Play-Offs: Montpellier v Racing Metro Preview


Jake white will be looking to extend his Montpellier swansong by ensuring his side gets one over Racing Metro this Saturday. 

It’s Jake White’s bruisers versus Laurent Labit’s superstars in the second of this weekend’s Top 14 Play-Off fixtures. White’s side have enjoyed a much more prosperous season than their counterparts and have thus secured home ground advantage for Saturday' affair. While they may not have a partisan crowd behind them, you cannot write off Racing Metro’s chances as they have goal-kicking ace Dan Carter up their sleeve.

So will the All Black great silence the Altrad faithful with that sniper rifle of a boot of his or will White’s heavyweights beat their opponents into submission?

Montpellier v Racing Metro | Saturday 20 May | Altrad Stadium | 17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Montpellier 3/10 | Draw 19/1 | Racing Metro 26/10

It’s been a decent year for Montpellier although they could possibly have achieved more. While they have made it to the Top 14 semis, their Champions Cup run came to a close at the Pool phase with their 16-point haul not enough to see them advance to the knock-out phase of the tournament.

Things have been a lot rosier for Montpellier on the domestic front where their 16 victories have seen them secure a home play-off game. The side has also evolved into a more enterprising outfit who are not just about dominating the collision as is evident when you look at their 750 points for tally. While a lot of those tries came courtesy of driving mauls, pick-and-goes and through the boot of their goal-kickers, a heap of their five-pointers came courtesy of their lethal back three.

The main man in that dangerous triumvirate - and the man who’s is likely to cause real issues for Racing - is Nemani Nadolo. The former Crusaders wing has enjoyed a stellar debut season in the French top tier, scoring nine tries in his 16 appearances.

Another Montpellier back who will be crucial this weekend is Frans Steyn. The burly inside centre has experienced something of a renaissance this season which has seen him recalled to the Springbok set up. Steyn isn’t the only ‘Bok who will take to the pitch this Saturday, with Bismarck du Plessis set to join his former Sharks teammate in the run on side.

Racing metro
I still have no idea how Racing are even in contention to defend their title, but they are. The Parasians have had a nightmare of the year both on and off the field with a dismal showing in the Champions Cup Pool phase being followed up with an ill-fated proposed merger with Stade Francais.

Despite their woes, Racing are still capable of getting a win this weekend as their squad is loaded with experienced internationals including Dan ‘The Man’ Carter. If the double World Cup winner is to swing it for his side he’s going to need his forward pack to front up against the Montpellier monsters. This means the likes of Ben Tamieifuna and Chris Masoe are going to have huge rolls to play.

It will actually be interesting to see how Racing approach this one. While they do have the option of trying to play a more expansive game plan - which would result in this heavier Montpellier side tiring in the later stages – their lack of cohesion on attack make this option a real gamble.

Verdict: Montpellier 3/10
Montpellier hammered Racing 54-3 three weeks ago, and while I think the score line will be tighter, I’m pretty sure the result will be the same. 

Written by Darry Worthington for!

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