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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 18 June, 2019
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ROG's Racing defence produces stunning 14-man effort to beat Toulon in Nou Camp final

The Bouclier de Brennus is staying in Paris.

The Bouclier de Brennus arrives pre-match.
The Bouclier de Brennus arrives pre-match.

RACING METRO WERE forced to dig deep, but despite playing more than 60 minutes with 14 men, they claimed a stunning 29 – 21 Top 14 final win over Toulon in Barcelona’s Nou Camp.

Scrum-half Maxime Machenaud was red carded after 18 minutes for a tip tackle on Matt Giteau (more on that here) and wing Juan Imhoff was forced to tear up his personal gameplan and fill in as a makeshift number nine. His move felt seamless for most of the game.

Toulon threatened to turn the screw in the minutes after Machenaud’s dismissal. Leigh Halfpenny kicked the score from 3 – 3 to 9 -3 and after Dan Carter issued a reply, Mamuka Gorgodze trundled over the line to make Racing’s task look improbable if not impossible.

However, a combination of tireless and intelligent defensive decisions and an insatiable breakdown effort helped keep Racing within distance of their rivals from the south coast and the gap was only 12 – 14 at the half-time whistle.

After the break, the Paris club had the benefit of far cooler heads and clearer purpose. Toulon’s captain continuously let his frustrations be known to referee Mathieu Raynal as Johan Goosen’s big boot bisected the posts either side of a Xavier Chiocci yellow card.

JOE ROK

The prop’s absence was felt in a big way as Toulon shipped 11 points when the game was 14-a-side. Carter returned to the tee to make the gap seven points at 21 – 14 and the All Black great showed his all-round talents by forcing a turnover that led to a superb Joe Rokocoko try on 59 minutes.

20 minutes remained and the gap was 12 points. Maxime Mermoz ran in to narrow the gap with 10 minutes remaining and Halfpenny converted to make it a five-point game. But when pitched on the five-metre line, Toulon were thwarted at the scrum and it was Carter who grabbed the game’s last score after his side made one last advance up the Nou Camp pitch.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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