Planet Rugby

Preview: Toulouse v Racing-Métro

09th May 2013 11:32

Share:

Toulouse s Luke McAlister v Racing metro

Play-offs: Toulouse host Racing

In-form Racing-Métro travel to defending champions Toulouse on Friday to do battle for a place in the Top 14 semi-finals.

Toulouse have made the semi-finals every year since 1994 but will have to be on top of their game to overcome a Racing side that has won 11 of their last 13 league encounters.

One of those defeats came against Toulouse, thanks to Vincent Clerc scoring his second try of the game in the last minute to snatch a one-point win a few weeks ago.

Les Toulousains have claimed the French title the last two years but have not played like champions this season, losing nine matches - their worst record for four years. Manager Guy Novès will hope that the onset of the play-offs reignites their famous big-match temperament and defies the critics who believe their golden era is at an end.

Toulouse's lustre has taken a bit of a battering this season as the record four-time European Cup winners have seen their thunder stolen both domestically and abroad by Clermont and Toulon.

But Novès - who has won 12 French championships, two as a player and 10 as manager, all with Toulouse - said that league form could now be dispensed with as the play-offs had their very own flavour.

"Everyone changes during the week, from the guy who cleans out the dressing rooms to the club president. They are like a chameleon shedding its skin," he told L'Equipe this week.

"The play-offs are a moment when you must have the desire to kill somebody.

"You have to concentrate obsessively, and I mean obsessively, on the smallest detail.

"In the end advancing 50 centimetres or retreating 50 centimetres can be the difference between winning and losing."

Novès, a slippery wing who was capped seven times from 1977-79, said that he hammered into his players that this was a one-off game and therefore they could not afford to let up one moment.

"You either win because you were more determined than your opponent, or you lose and you are on holiday," " he added.

"When I hear 'We will remember that next time' that makes me laugh. But yes of course, only that you have to wait at least a year in order to do so."

The 59-year-old dismissed the fact that Toulouse had beaten Racing in both their league games this season.

"The last match was down to the last piece of play. So I don't think that counts for much," said Novès.

Racing-Metro's good end-of-season form belies the huge internal ructions at the club owned by Swiss property magnate Jacky Lorenzetti.

Victory for the hosts will bring to an end the stormy reign at Racing of former France and Italy coach - and managing director for the past season - Pierre Berbizier, who will leave the club having already been removed involvement in coaching the side.

Not only will Berbizier be departing but also their Argentinian coach Gonzalo Quesada - for bitter Parisian rivals Stade Français.

Racing are without France wing Benjamin Fall recovers from due to a thigh injury which forced him to miss the last league match although Quesada's compatriot Juan Imhoff is fit.

Toulouse are missing try-magnet Clerc, due to a serious knee injury as well as France centre Florian Fritz.

Number eight Louis Picamoles has been passed fit while wing Maxime Médard could make his return.

The teams:

Stade Toulousain: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Yannick Jauzion, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Maxime Medard, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Jean Marc Doussain, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir, 6 Jean Bouilhou, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Census Johnston, 2 William Servat , 1 Vasil Kakovin
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Romain Millo chlusky, 19 Yannick Nyanga, 20 Luke Burgess, 21 Lionel Beauxis, 22 Yann David, 23 Jean Batiste Poux.

Racing-Métro 92: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Juan Imhoff, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Fabrice Estebanez, 11 Sereli Bobo, 10 Jonathan Wisniewski, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Masinivanua Matadigo, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Antoine Battut, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Julien Brugnaut.
Replacements:16 Thomas Bianchin, 17 Eddy Ben arous, 18 Alvaro Galindo, 19 Jacques Cronje, 20 Sebastien Descons, 21 Alexandre Dumoulin, 22 Virimi Vakatawa, 23 Salemane Sa.

Date: Friday, May 10
Venue: Stadium de Toulouse
Kick-off: 21.00 (19.00 GMT)
Referee: Jérôme Garces

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00