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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

Sexton's Racing Métro handed demanding start to Top 14 season

Meanwhile, Bernard Jackman’s Grenoble have two tough away games on the opening weekends.

Sexton is expected back at Racing training early next week.
Sexton is expected back at Racing training early next week.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

JONNY SEXTON’S RACING Métro have been handed a tough schedule for the opening weeks of the 2014/15 Top 14 campaign, starting against Fabien Galthié’s impressive Montpellier side.

Having reached the semi-finals of the French domestic championship last season, where they were beaten by Toulon, the Parisian club will be targeting at least a repeat of that feat as they continue to grow under a coaching team of Laurent Labit, Laurent Travers and Ronan O’Gara.

The investment of president Jacky Lorenzetti has seen the likes Brice Dulin, Antonie Claassen, Luke Charteris, Casey Laulala, Thomas Lavanini and Johan Goosen sign up to join Sexton at Stade Yves du Manoir for the coming year.

Despite the strengthening of an already-impressive squad, Racing will have to contend with tough scheduling from the LNR on the opening weekends of the season if they are to get off to a strong start.

Les Fanciliens travel to Montpellier in round one on the weekend of 15/16 August, before a trip to Raphaël Ibañez’s intelligent, energetic Bordeaux on 22/23 August.

Racing’s first home fixture sees them entertain reigning champions Toulon on 29/30 August, with a trek to take on Clermont following on 5/6 September. Match day five on 12/13 September sees a more favourable fixture against Lyon in Paris.

Racing’s opening Top 14 fixtures:
  • Montpellier [A] – 15/16 August
  • Bordeaux [A] – 22/23 August
  • Toulon [H] – 29/30 August
  • Clermont [A] – 5/6 September

Grenoble, where Bernard Jackman is now head coach and Mike Prendergast is in charge of the backs, will start their competitive season away to Clermont, before another testing tie away to Montpellier.

Match day three sees the Isère club at home to Bordeaux, followed by another winnable encounter at home to La Rochelle. Grenoble will play all of their home games at the 20,000-capacity Stade des Alpes this season.

Grenoble’s opening Top 14 fixtures:
  • Clermont [A] – 15/16 August
  • Montpellier [A] – 22/23 August
  • Bordeaux [H] – 29/30 August
  • La Rochelle [H] – 5/6 September

Toulon, who also surged to their second Heineken Cup success last season, begin their campaign away to Bayonne, before hosting newly-promoted La Rochelle a week later.

To view the full fixture list for the 2014/15 Top 14 season, visit the LNR website.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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