Montpellier out to continue final dream
May 28, 2011
Montpellier prop Juan Figallo comes in for some close attention from Racing © Getty Images
Racing Metro will continue their bid for a first French title since 1990 with a Top 14 semi-final against Montpellier on Saturday, with their rivals bidding for a first trip to a season finale.
Fabien Galthie's Montpellier have been the surprise package this season and bloodied Racing's nose back in August, with a first-half blitz setting up a 36-19 victory.
Racing responded with a 28-16 win on their own track and will have enjoyed their week off while Montpellier battle to a one-point win over Castres in the first round of play-off matches.
Racing Metro - Player to Watch: Fly-half Jonathan Wisniewski has been arguably the best playmaker in the league this season, keep an eye on him to see if he can fire a message to France coach Marc Lievremont, who overlooked him for their Rugby World Cup squad.
Racing Metro - Team News: Sebastien Chabal returns on the bench after having a suspension for criticising referees reduced, while in the back-row, Jacques Cronje starts at No.8. France international Benjamin Fall is at fullback, with Frans Steyn at inside-centre.
Montpellier - Player to Watch: Winger Martin Bustos Moyana is a points machine, knowing both the way to the try-line and how to punish sides from the kicking tee.
Montpellier - Team News: France fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc will steer the ship, with classy Pumas midfielder Santiago Fernandez also tasked with finding a spark. Fulgence Ouedraogo provides pace from the back-row while No.8 Mamuka Gorgodze will carry tirelessly.
Key Battle: Wisniewski v Trinh-Duc will be a cracker as the Montpellier fly-half looks to outdo his rival in the playmaking battle - he will hope to have Racing backpedalling.
Trivia: Montpellier are one of the younger sides in European rugby, having been founded in 1986 following a merger between Stade Montpelliérain and MUC Rugby.
Stats: Montpellier have outscored Racing five tries to four across their two games this season - both big home wins.
"This weekend, you have a heavyweight semi-final, Tyson-Holyfield, and another weight, Pacquiao-Mayweather." - Racing Metro coach Pierre Berbizier
"The goal is to have no regrets now, to play boldly and take our chance." - Montpellier's Benjamin Thiery
Prediction: Racing have been set up for days like this and with a favourable draw, should make the final that they crave.
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