French Top 14: Stade Francais v Racing Metro Preview


A red-hot Racing Metro will be looking to seal a fifth straight victory when they take on Stade Francais on Sunday the 2nd of December.

Racing Metro have enjoyed a massive upswing in fortunes over the past month, now they look fit to be real title challengers as opposed to the bumbling bunch that lost four out of their opening seven fixtures. The side from the French capital have surged their way up the Top 14 standings and currently sit only four points behind league leaders, Montpellier. A victory away to a misfiring Stade outfit could just see the 2015/16 Champions claim a spot in the top 3 heading into the two-week break for Round 3 and 4 of the Champions and Challenge Cups.

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Stade Francais v Racing Metro | Sunday 3 December | Stade Jean Buin | 17:50

To Win (80 Mins)
Stade 7/10 | Draw 16/1 | Racing 12/10

Stade Francais
The old adage of 'Hit or Miss' really does sum up Stade's start to the 2017/18 season quite nicely. Sergio Parisse and Co. have blown hot and cold so far this season, registering home wins over La Rochelle and Montpellier while losing on the road to the likes of, Russian side Krasny Yar, in the Challenge Cup and Agen in the Top 14.

Speaking of that infamous defeat to lowly Agen, Stade were absolutely horrendous against the league strugglers last week going down by 16 points at the Stade Armandie. And while there were mitigating circumstances, Agen were on a massive high after pipping Toulon the week prior and Stade were missing key internationals due to France taking on Japan, you would have expected them to have at least picked up a losing bonus point from the fixture.

Racing
What a difference a month-and-a-half makes in rugby! Racing had looked decidedly amateur until they managed to claim a losing bonus point in their 16-9 away defeat to La Rochelle in early October.hard-fought defeat certainly gave the Parisians a boost in confidence as they have gone on to win all four of their subsequent matches.These wins are all the more impressive when you look at the quality of the opposition they came against.

 Racing began their run of victories by beating Bordeaux 29-13. They then edged out a stubborn Pau side 23-20. Their next fixture saw them claim the sweetest victory of all as they beat city rivals Toulon in the Paris Derby. And while beating Toulon on their home ground is a great achievement, the most impressive result during Racing's undefeated run came last week as they hammered, an admittedly flat, Montpellier 26-0.

Key to this Racing renaissance has been the form of Sharks and Springbok pivot, Patrick Lambie. The former Sharks skipper is relishing life in the Top 14 and has been able to dictate terms with that educated right boot of his.

Verdict: Stade Francais 7/10
This is quite an interesting one. Stade don't have much hope of advancing from their Challenge Cup Pool, so they will most likely focus all their energy on domestic matters. Racing, on the other hand, sit in a rather healthy position in their Champions Cup Pool, which may tempt coach, Lauren Labit, to rest a few key players in a bid to keep his star players fresh for the Champions Cup. With this in mind, I fancy the hosts to snatch a win, especially considering that they will also welcome back a host of internationals this week.  


Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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