EURO SEASON SO FAR: Absolutely outstanding quarter-final win against Clermont at Stade Michelin where they attacked their way out of trouble and knocked the home side out of their stride. Prior to that did well to qualify as a best runner up from Pool 4. A losing bonus point at Munster (very hard to come by) and at Castres ultimately proved invaluable and Racing produced high quality rugby when they needed in beating Castres and Munster at home. Then at the death they showed a lot of dog to grind out a 2320 win at Welford Road to complete the double over Tigers. SEMI-FINAL HISTORY: Racing, for all their long history, are European novices compared with most teams but they did perform very well indeed in their one semi-final to date, a hard earned 19-16 win against Leicester Tigers at the City Ground, Nottingham in 2016. Urged on by MOM Maxime Machenaud, ferocious defence throughout was the key to their win – Manu Tuilagi was never allowed to become a factor in the game – while Dan Carter used all his experience to control the game calmly from fly-half. Machenaud poached a vital early try, Carter kicked three penalties and South African Johann Goosen added a long range effort, while a late try from Telusa Veainu made the 19-16 score line rather closer than the game had felt. STARMEN: A host of big names who can turn it on at any time but when push comes to shove Racing look mainly to their skipper and inspiration Maxime Machenaud, who is also their main goalkicker, and Fijian superstar Leone Nakarawa, a devastating broken field runner, off-loader and try scorer. Nakarawa is also their key man in a sometimes faltering lineout. COACH’S CORNER: Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers have been coaching successfully together for over a decade now, first at Montauban, then Castres and now at Racing. Travers was a Heineken Cup winner with Brive in 1997.
Inspiration: Maxime Machenaud