The Rugby Paper - - Analysis -

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

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