An all-French quarter-final makes for a very interesting encounter. With just two games played so far when excluding friendlies and warm-up games, we’re still getting a gauge on the level these teams are currently playing at.
Racing 92 have hit the ground running this season winning at Lyon and hosting Montpellier. Indeed, Lyon were lying in second place in the 2019/20 campaign after 17 games, while Montpellier were down in eighth, so it hasn’t been the easiest of starts for the Parisians.
The orchestrator of those victories has been the illustrious Finn Russel. He recorded a try and three assists across those games and this game will be as much about stopping him for Clermont than anything else.
The hosts haven’t had quite such a good start as although they beat Toulouse at Stade Marcel Michelin in their opening fixture, they were certainly helped by key men going down for the visitors, including Cheslin Kolbe, while a red card for Richie Arnold in the 50th minute certainly helped too.
Even after that Toulouse managed 18 unanswered points to take the lead heading into the final 10 minutes, but Clermont finally managed to tussle their way to a 33-30 victory.
It was anything but a late comeback at Bayonne last time out though, as although Clermont were 19-7 heading into the final 12 minutes, a quickfire two tries from their hosts saw them lose out 21-19.
Racing To Beat Clermont
Both sides look like they’ll be without new outside back superstar signings Kurtley Beale and Kotaro Matsushima, for Racing and Clermont respectively.
Beale has been suspended following a dangerous tackle, while the Japanese flyer picked up an injury inside the first 20 minutes of his debut in round one of the Top14.
Since the start of 2018, these two sides have met on five occasions with Racing 92 having recorded a favourable W3-D1-L1.
That includes a 28-17 blitzing by the Paris based side at this very stadium in the quarters of this tournament back in 2018, as well as a similar 27-19 in their most recent meeting in January this year, and so we’re a little surprised to see the hosts priced up as favourites.