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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Racing Metro Sees Red and Beats Toulon 29-21 in Barcelona

With all of the big French stadia being used by the Euro 2016 for soccer this month,  French Rugby had to find a different large venue to welcome the Top 14 final, and they found quite the large venue in the Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain. (Still a pretty easy drive from Southwest France)
The Camp Nou in Barcelona-an unusual venue for the French Top 14 Final

This year's final for French club supremacy came down to Toulon against Racing Metro 92 from Paris. Racing is a club that has always had a little bit of extra sartorial panache`, having had a history of many years ago of coming out wearing pink bow ties(The Racing players for this game wore Pink Bow Ties stuffed in their socks). For the final against Toulon, the Parisians came out with blazers over their jerseys...
Racing also winning on the style points....

At Stake, was Le Bouclier de Brennus-Brennus' Shield-the holy grail of French Rugby. The last time Racing had won the title was back in 1990. I have watched a few finals, but don't think I have ever seen two nice looking, barely clad women coming out with the trophy...
Great lines and well built...the Bouclier de Brennus looked impressive, too
Toulon, clad in Red, did a lot of the early hard running and seemed to be taking the early advantage against Dan Carter and his Racing mates....

The match looked ready to turn permanently in favor of Toulon when Maxime Machenaud got red carded in the 18th minute for a dangerous tackle on Aussie Fly Half Matt Giteau..It was a tough call, partially because of how Giteau fell, but by the letter of the law, I think it was a difficult, but correct call by Monsieur Raynal. Toulon would take a a 6-3 lead, and the idea of Racing trying to stay with formidable team from the Var looked grim, indeed.
Matt Giteau gets planted-Racing would have to play a man down after the ensuing red card.
Leigh Halfpenny's boot had Racing up 9-3, then a try by the Georgian Gorgodze had Toulon up 14-6. It was not looking good for the Parisians. 

Racing had an ace up their sleeve wearing the number 10 shirt. Fans of Canterbury, the Crusaders, and the All Blacks have become  used to the man from South Bridge on the South Island of New Zealand performing heroics in rugby games for several years now, including las October's World Cup win by the All Blacks in England.  Dan Carter had a brief spell years ago with Perpignan in France that was cut short by an Achilles heel injury. In returning to France, he felt he had something to prove. All Dan Carter did was provide calm at the number 10 shirt, and make masterful decisions on distribution of the ball and accurate tactical kicking and kicking at goal. He would score 8 Penalties, and a another Kiwi, Joe Rokocoko, would do a lovely chipped kick that he picked up on the run and planted the ball down for a Racing Try. Dan Carter would be voted Man of the Match for his Mastro's touch for the 29-21 victory for the Parisians-in spite of playing well over half the match down a man against a very, very good side.  It was a great game of rugby played out at the Camp Nou stadium. Well over 80,000 fans got to see just how dramatic the game of rugby can be. 
Man of the match: Dan Carter

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