Racing 92 lose Champions Cup final without injured Dan Carter

Lynette Rowe
May 13, 2018

Leinster had to dig deep against a dogged Racing 92.

Captain Isa Nacewa sealed victory with a penalty as only 90 seconds remained on the clock.

He has won 112 caps, nine Rugby Championships and two World Cups with New Zealand; three World Player of the Year awards - evenly spread from 2005, 2012 and 2015 - four Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders and two Top14 wins with Perpignan and Racing.

The Pro14 giants did not have it all their own way at a lively San Mames, but persistence ultimately paid off for Leo Cullen's side as Isa Nacewa's late penalty - which put them ahead for the first time - saw them level Toulouse's benchmark tally.

Racing shrugged off injuries to fly-halves Dan Carter and Pat Lambie to lead twice during a cagey first half, Teddy Iribaren's two penalties being cancelled out by a Jonathan Sexton brace.

Racing 92 may have suffered heartbreak in the European Champions Cup final, but there was a measure of consolation for Leone Nakarawa as the Fiji global was named European Player of the Year for 2018.

Nacewa, Cian Healy, Sexton, and Devin Toner all collected a record-equaling fourth title.

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A pre-match hamstring injury spoiled Carter's European swansong, with Racing's injury list already including talismanic skipper Maxime Machenaud (knee) and Dimitri Szarzewski (bicep).

Although struggling to produce quick ruck ball on the greasy surface, Leinster had the edge under the high ball through Rob Kearney.

Leinster were making most of the attacking surges and they went in level for the endeavour when Leone Nakarawa was penalised for a deliberate intercept and Sexton made it 6-6.

Iribaren's right boot restored Racing's lead five minutes after the restart, rewarding a bruising set of carries from his pack.

Still, scrum-half Teddy Iribaren nailed an early penalty to give the French underdogs a 3-0 lead.

Racing sensed the game was there for the taking and steamed into the Leinster half.

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