French Top 14: Racing Metro v Pau Preview

It's a big week in the French Top 14 with a plethora of heavyweight clashes set to take place between Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening. We'll take a look at Saturday's tie between 2015/16 Champions, Racing Metro and Pau. 

The French Top 14 is entering a vital period for the big guns with the Autumn Internationals set to rob the heavyweight sides of their heavy hitters. As such, the likes of Racing Metro and Pau will be looking to grab as many points as possible this coming weekend. 

The two sides currently occupy positions outside of the play-off places, which will not sit easy with their respective sets of fans. A win for either side could see them move into the Top 6, that would be a timely boost considering they will be without a few of their internationals for the next month.

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Racing Metro v Pau | Saturday 4 November | Stade Yves de Manoir | 19:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Racing 2/11 | Draw 33/1 | Pau 38/10

Last year's semi-finalists have endured their second successive passive start to a Top 14 campaign, and currently sit in seventh position, 12 points behind pace-setters, Lyon. Racing fans shouldn't be too worried about this sluggish start, as their side started in the exact same vein last season but still managed to sneak into the semi-finals.

Racing will need to up their performances in the coming weeks and they have every chance of doing this as they are one of the Top 14 big teams that don't suffer as much from French international call-ups, due to the majority of their heavy hitters being foreign.

There's not much to write home about when one takes a look at Racing's start to the season. The men from the capital have lost four of their eight fixtures. A few of these defeats also came against sides you'd expect them to beat - they lost to promoted Agen in the second round and they also struggled to a win over Oyonnax. They have put in some decent showings, running Clermont close and just going down to the league's form team, Lyon.

Speaking of decent showings, Racing come into this one off the back of their best performance of the season, as they beat the Bordeaux Begles by 16 points this past weekend. That result would have been a massive shot in the arm for Racing and hopefully will help to kick-start their campaign.

Like Racing, Pau have endured a less than ideal start to their campaign and currently sit eighth on the standings. They have registered the same number of wins as their opponents but come into this one off the back of a 16-22 defeat to Vern Cotter's Montpellier.

Pau have been slightly more consistent than their opponents for this weekend, winning most of the games you'd expect them to win but losing the games against the big guns. They are the only side to beat Lyon this term and that illustrates that, there is quality amongst the Pau ranks - it just needs to turn up week in and week out.

The visitors head into this one off the back of a bruising affair with Montpellier which will have taken its toll on the playing personnel. As such, we could well see a few changes to the starting XV this weekend.

Verdict: Racing 2/11
I think Pau are primed for the taking after their scrap with the Montpellier monsters. Racing also seem to have turned the corner after narrow defeats to La Rochelle and Lyon. My money is on the hosts for the straight win. Add the bet to your multiple.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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