Racing trump Toulon in Euro Cup

2016-04-10 20:08
Dan Carter

Paris - An out-of-sorts Dan Carter helped Racing 92 beat three-time defending champions Toulon 19-16 in the European Cup quarter-finals on Sunday to set up a last-four clash with Leicester.

The other all-English semi-final was settled on Saturday after Saracens posted a 29-20 victory over Northampton and Wasps saw off Exeter 25-24.

Racing roared out to an early lead at home in Paris thanks to a Carter penalty and conversion of Argentinian winger Juan Imhoff's intercept try.

But Toulon responded with a well-taken try from flanker Charles Ollivon converted by Jonathan Pelissie.

But a game that had started off with elan descended into a kicking battle of attrition in the swirling winds of the northwest Parisian suburbs.

Seven missed penalties peppered the match, three for Racing and four for Toulon.

Maxime Machenaud took over Racing's kicking duties from an off-form Carter to match Pelissie's three penalties, the latter's third sealing a nail-biting match just two minutes from time.

World player of the year Carter was in action after just 13 seconds, booting a penalty after Ollivon was pinged for holding on directly from the kick-off.

No sooner had Toulon coach Bernard Laporte taken his place in the stands than Imhoff then picked off Maxime Mermoz's pass and raced away from 50 metres for a try Carter also converted.

Toulon's quality shone through, however, going through the phases until the ball eventually found dynamic Fijian winger Josua Tuisova, who squirted through the defence and offloaded to Ollivon who crashed over the line, Pelissie converting.

As the star-studded teams with a veritable foreign legion (17 of the starting 30 players representing nine nationalities) of some of the world's most exciting players settled into a calmer rhythm than the opening helter-skelter 10 minutes, tight defences ruled.

Delon Armitage went wide with a long-range penalty, and Pelissie shortly after as the wind swirled around the Stade Yves du Manoir.

It was then the turn of Racing scrum-half Machenaud, with Carter carrying a niggle and foregoing kicking duties, to see his effort go wide before Pelissie finally drew the scores level at 10-10 at half-time of a hard-hitting yet entertaining encounter.

The Toulon scrum-half was on target with a second penalty to hand the visitors the lead for the first time just minutes into the second period.

Machenaud equalled the scores and then put Racing back in front as Toulon's ill-discipline saw them gift the home side a raft of penalties.

Pelissie missed a second penalty as Racing withstood wave after wave of Matt Giteau-inspired Toulon attack and cleared after a Luke Charteris turnover.

But the scrum-half finally pulled Toulon level again at 16-16 to set up a nervy final quarter.

It was then the turn of Armitage and then Pelissie to see their penalty efforts go wide as the wind continued to play havoc with the kickers.

When Toulon's Georgian replacement prop Levan Chilachava failed to roll away from a ruck in the 78th minute after some concerted Racing possession, Machenaud made sure his aim was true to the crosshairs, bringing to an abrupt end Toulon's bid for an unprecedented fourth consecutive European title.

Read more on:    racing 92  |  toulon  |  daniel carter  |  rugby

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