Rugby: Van der Merwe: French have learned an expensive lesson

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RACING Metro have vowed not to be caught cold by Edinburgh Rugby a second time in the Heineken European rugby Cup.

Ahead of tonight’s clash in Paris, South African-born star Francois van der Merwe who packed down at second row alongside French captain Lionel Naillet when Edinburgh completed a group double by winning 27-24 at Stade Yves du Manoir last season said: “Last year was, with all respect, a bit of a surprise. Now Edinburgh are one of the teams to watch especially drawing on the fact they got to the semi-finals. One thing we know for sure is they are a very good attacking team.

“It was an expensive lesson but that is how you learn,” said the 6ft 6in and 19st 5lb second row who was a team-mate of Edinburgh prop Willem Nel when both were youths at Western Province.

“Tim Visser holds the key for them attack-wise. We have watched a bit of him on video this week and we are going to try to shut him down,” said Van der Merwe.

Racing beat twice champions Munster 22-17 on the opening day. “It was quite intimidating competing against (Lions captain) Paul O’Connell but we came back and that has given us confidence to keep on improving our home record.

“Top 14 results at home are not what we would wish for. We have almost done the opposite but we are much more positive about this very peculiar competition where you have to win basically every game. Tonight will tell us if we are good enough.”