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Racing Metro: 24 (7) Edinburgh Rugby: 27 (14)

They've been and gone and done it again.  The scoreline might have been a mite lower than that astonishing first match at Murrayfield, but this evening's match in Paris between these two attacking sides was every bit as open, every bit as nail-bitingly nervy and every bit the same outcome as last time. 

This time it was replacement 10 Phil 'Godders' Godman who nervelessly knocked over the winning dropped goal on the stroke of no-side to put the Gunners on 17 points and, at least until after Cardiff's visit to Reading tomorrow, in the driving seat in Heineken Pool 2.  Indeed, if the editorial slide rule is working properly, it looks like Embra are already guaranteed some sort of continuing European involvement no matter what happens between now and full-time against London Irish next Sunday afternoon.

But these guys deserve better than that.

In a match that was not dissimilar to the first outing in many ways, Embra withstood the opening Racing salvoes and, in many ways, their pack had the upper hand.  Netani Talei was immense throughout and richly deserved his Man of The Match award.  Allan 'Chunk' Jacobsen also shone.  The Man With The Film Star Looks clearly likes playing Racing.  Having been involved in the build up to all but one of the Embra tries last time, he was again scooting around with ball in hand all night.

First half tries by Ross 'Rossco' Rennie and Netani Talei, plus a second period mid-range touchdown from Dave 'Big Hair' Denton, all of which were converted by Greig Laidlaw, saw Edinburgh with their noses in front much of the time, but they couldn't shake off the star studded Parisians.  For some time in the second period, it looked like a draw might be a decent result, particularly when Wisniewski put Racing three points up, and ahead for the first time i the match, with ten minutes left on the clock.

Laidlaw pulled the scores level on 75 minutes with his first penalty of the night and we were into 'who dares wins territory'.  It's at times like these that the Munsters, Leinsters and Toulouses of the game knuckle down and do what they have to do to get the result.  Tonight, the Gunners did that.

Playing the game exactly where they should have done - deep in the enemy red zone with the seconds ticking down - Edinburgh were awarded a scrum then a free kick.  The drop was on, Godders was getting into the pocket.  One drive, then Laidlaw shipped back to the mercurial playmaker, who stuck the ball calmly through the middle of the posts.  The referee blew up, the game was over and the dream remains alive. 

Racing's tries came from South African Steyn, their Arentine star Imhoff and some other guy.

Their destiny is still not quite in Embra's hands.  If Cardiff win tomorrow, the Gunners will need to do one point better than the Welshmen in round 6 to go through, given their inferior position head-to-head against the Blues.  With Racing now definitively out, one wonders how motivated they will be for a January trip to South Wales.  So it could be that a bonus point win against the Irish might still be needed.

Speculation aside, the target is clear.  The Gunners must win at home next week if they are to go through.  Should be a great match and a big crowd. 

Hope to see you there.


Racing Metro 92: Jose Imhoff, Vakatawa, Steyn, Estebanez, Saubade, Hernandez, Descons, Lo Cicero, Orlandi, Nallet, van der Merwe, Leo'o, Battut, Chabal, Arganese. Replacements: Vaquiin for Vakatawa (74), Wisniewski for Hernandez (57), Loree for Descons (71), Sa for Orlandi (50), Le Roux for Chabal (65), Bianchin for Arganese (65). Not Used: Chavancy, Ben Arous.

Edinburgh: Paterson, Jones, De Luca, Scott, Visser, Laidlaw, M. Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, Cross, Gilchrist, Cox, Denton, Rennie, Talei. Replacements: T. Brown for Paterson (70), Godman for M. Blair (67), Gilding for Cross (67), Grant for Rennie (49). Not Used: Walker, Traynor, Lozada, Thompson.