French Top 14: Racing Metro v Montpellier Preview


A somewhat rejuvenated Racing Metro will look to claim the massive scalp of Top 14 table-toppers Montpellier when the two sides clash on Sunday the 26th of November.

Two of the most cosmopolitan sides in French rugby will square off this Saturday with Patrick Lambie's Racing Metro taking on Bismark du Plessis' Montpellier. The visitors are in sensational touch this term and moved to the top of the Top 14 standings with last weekend's 10 point victory over Toulouse. The hosts did a bit of table climbing last week with their impressive away victory over Toulon seeing them move from sixth to fourth.

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Racing Metro v Montpellier | Sunday 26 November | Stade Yves du Manoir | 13:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Racing 7/20 | Draw 21/1 | Montpellier 43/20

Racing
Pundits, included myself, have rightly given Racing a lot of stick this term but we were all ate a slice of humble pie last week as Racing managed to upset the odds, beating Toulon in the Paris Derby.

The 2015/16 Top 14 Champions were at their very best last week playing vintage Metro rugby, running in some sensational long-range tries against old foes Toulon. The game was an absolute cracker with both sides seemingly landing knock-out blows only for a counter punch to be thrown by the opposition. Racing finally managed to land the knockout through Luis Duphiot's try, minutes before the hooter seeing Racing to a 40-29 victory.

While last weekend's victory was a spectacular achievement, there were still a few evident chinks in Racing's armour. The Parisians left quite a few holes on defence and they will need to be a lot less porous against this extremely dangerous Montpellier backline.

Montpellier
Vern Cotter's men reached the summit of the Top 14 log in a manner which reeked of the uncompromising Jake White era as they ground down a solid Toulouse side 32-22 at the Altrad Stadium this past Saturday. And while it was far from a complete performance, it did illustrate that the men from Montpellier are still able to win a battle of trench warfare when the circumstances require a more conservative approach.

The win over Toulouse was Montepellier's eighth of the domestic campaign and their fifth consecutive victory. They've been solid on the road this term, winning three of their five away fixtures - quite the achievement, considering that the majority of Top 14 games are won by the host teams.

Verdict: Montpellier 43/20
It's one thing beating an out of sorts Toulon, it's an entirely different prospect getting one over a well-drilled and physical Montpellier outfit. While Racing will give a solid account of themselves here, I just don't think they have the firepower upfront to see off this Herculean Montpellier pack. As such, I'm all over the away win this week.    

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