Top 14 - Round 20 Preview
Racing eye revenge against Castres
February 19, 2010
Racing flanker Sebastien Chabal is in line for a return to action this weekend © Getty Images
Castres will go in search of a valuable double over Top 14 title rivals Racing Metro when the two sides go head-to-head at Stade Yves du Manoir on Saturday.
Laurent Travers and Laurent Labit's side scored a narrow 9-6 victory over Racing when the two sides met back in September but will be tested against Parisians who have suffered just two league defeats at home this season at the hands of defending champions Perpignan and more recently Bourgoin.
Racing's narrow defeat at Stade Pierre-Antoine was followed by an impressive nine-game unbeaten run that saw them surge up the table before the defeat at the hands of Bourgoin and another at Perpignan dented their hopes of clinching the Top 14 crown in their first season back in France's top flight since 2000. These defeats could have broken the back of Racing's title challenge but Pierre Berbezier's side responded well with a notable victory over Clermont Auvergne in their last outing three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Castres come into this clash on the back of a 32-14 victory over Stade Francais but have struggled to find their best form on their travels with their last three away games ending in defeat at Perpignan, Bourgoin and most recently Montpellier.
Racing have been boosted by the return of flanker Sebastien Chabal and the crowd favourite is included in the squad for the game as is Italian centre Andrea Masi having been released from the Azzurri's Six Nations squad. But lock Lionel Nallet misses the game due to his international commitments.
Fresh from a mid-season trip to Corsica, Castres will be without injured prop Luc Ducalcon and scrum-half Sebastian Tillous-Borde.
Racing squad: Scarborough, Bobo, Chavancy, Steyn, Suabade, Wisnieski, Berry, Lo Cicero, Festuccia, Baiocco, Dellape, Raiwalui, Leo'o, Culine, Chabal
Replacements: Leroux, Orlandi, Qovu, Cronjé, Smith, Diomandé, Masi, Fillol
Castres: Teulet, Andreu, Garcia, Cabannes, Audrin, McIntyre, Albouy, Hoeft, Giorgadze, Saayman, Rolland, Koulemine, Diarra, Malonga, Masoe
Replacements: Rallier, Lensing, Tekori, Caballero, Denos, Bonnefond, Sanchou, Coetzee
"We were only five metres away in the last Test of getting that try and with Jonny's inevitable conversion, we'd have won it." Tom Hamilton talks to Lions fullback Matt Perry
Toulon's Heineken Cup final victory over Clermont Auvergne may have ended a long title drought for the Top 14 club but two of their players are no strangers to success
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage