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World Russell's Racing 'flying' ahead of Champions Cup quarter-final

05:16  18 september  2020
05:16  18 september  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Scotland fly -half Finn Russell said Top 14 league leaders Racing 92 are on top of their game form before heading to Clermont in Saturday' s European Champions Cup quarter - final . The Parisians have won their two opening domestic fixtures of the new campaign which included last Friday' s convincing

Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell said Top 14 league leaders Racing 92 are on top of their game form before heading to Clermont in Saturday' s European Champions Cup quarter - final . The Parisians have won their two opening domestic fixtures of the new campaign which included last Friday' s convincing

Finn Russell holding a football ball: Finn Russell has set up three Racing 92 tries so far this season © FRANCK FIFE Finn Russell has set up three Racing 92 tries so far this season

Scotland fly-half Finn Russell said Top 14 league leaders Racing 92 are on top of their game form before heading to Clermont in Saturday's European Champions Cup quarter-final.

The Parisians have won their two opening domestic fixtures of the new campaign which included last Friday's convincing 41-17 victory over Montpellier.

"Hopefully we'll go into this game flying and come out with a win," Russell told AFP on Monday.

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Johnny Sexton backs Scotland' s Finn Russell to be a success with Racing 92, despite the Ireland Schmidt said the fly -half' s spell in France had left a permanent negative impact on his "resilience" in "They made it to the quarter - final last year and pushed Munster unbelievably hard in that so they're a

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"Even though we played pretty well the first two games, it was in the back of my mind subconsciously. It's hard not to when it's such a big game," he added.

The hosts, without a home defeat in Europe since April 2018, have been given a local exemption to allow 10,000 people into the Stade Marcel-Michelin despite national coronavirus guidelines capping public gatherings at 5,000.

a football player on a field: Simon Zebo or Louis Dupichot could replace the banned Kurtley Beale at full-back on Saturday © FRANCK FIFE Simon Zebo or Louis Dupichot could replace the banned Kurtley Beale at full-back on Saturday

Russell is yet to experience the 'Yellow Army' environment and said he planned to talk to former Scotland team-mate Greig Laidlaw, who left Clermont at the end of last season, ahead of the fixture.

"It'll be great to have more fans there. It's also going to make it harder for us, it's a great challenge for us to go to Clermont and win in front of their home support," Russell said.

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Saracens' place in the Champions Cup quarter - finals was secured after a tense 27-24 win over Racing 92, less than 24 hours The tables turned as Racing 92 got on the board when Elliot Daly missed a high ball from Finn Russell and Virimi Vakatawa grabbed hold of it to sprint across the tryline.

Racing 92 have been dealt a huge blow ahead of next month' s Champions Cup Final against Leinster. It has been confirmed that their captain Maxime Machenaud will miss the Bilbao decider after suffering knee ligament damage in their weekend win over Bordeaux. The scrum-half will be sidelined

"I'd imagine it's one of the best, they always sell out and it's a great place to play," he added.

- Beale ban 'shame' -

The visitors will be without close-season signing in Australia full-back Kurtley Beale who has been suspended for three weeks for a dangerous tackle in last weekend's league win.

Russell, who will make his Test return later this year, said he expected Ireland's Simon Zebo to make his injury comeback to replace the 92-time Wallaby.

"A big shame for us. He's started pretty well here, apart from the red card. It was just an incident. He's still learning the players and how they play," Russell said.

"We have other great players to fill in for him. Zebo is fit and ready to go. Louis Dupichot is a great full-back too, we have great depth in the squad at Racing," he added.

Fleet-footed Zebo and France centre Virimi Vakatawa's contracts at the Paris La Defense Arena are up at the end of the season.

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Media in France and elsewhere claim Zebo could leave and various high-spending English clubs are interested in Vakatawa.

"Hopefully they sign on again. We play some great rugby here," Russell said.

"With these boys we're building a great team and a great backline. Hopefully we can keep them all on and keep building for the next few years."

Elsewhere this weekend, Pro14 champions Leinster host title holders Saracens in a re-run of last year's final.

Record four-time winners Toulouse welcome Ulster and there's an all-English tie on Sunday as Northampton Saints head to Exeter.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Saturday

Leinster (IRL) v Saracens (ENG) (1400), Clermont (FRA) v Racing 92 (FRA) (1645)

Sunday

Toulouse (FRA) v Ulster (IRL) (1130), Exeter Chiefs (ENG) v Northampton Saints (ENG) (1630)

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