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Carter's 14-man Racing win French title

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/06/2016
Dan Carter © PA Images Dan Carter

Dan Carter's Racing Metro, reduced to 14 men for much of the match, have produced a remarkable performance to beat Toulon 29-21 and win the French Top 14 final for the first time in 26 years.

Racing, beaten in the European Champions Cup by England's Saracens last month and seeking their first domestic title since 1990, lost France scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud to a red card after 18 minutes for a tackle that crashed former Wallaby Matt Giteau into the ground head-first.

The match was played in front of over 90,000 fans in Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium as the Stade de France is on Euro 2016 soccer duty.

After trailing 14-12 at the break, however, Racing produced a magnificent display to regain control of the game and secure a famous victory.

Racing showed admirable discipline and forced Toulon into conceding a succession of penalties that Carter and South African centre Johan Goosen turned into points.

Toulon struggled to make their extra man count and Racing stretched their lead to 26-14 after an hour when former New Zealand winger Joe Rokocoko caught his own chip ahead for their first try.

Toulon's centre Maxime Mermoz slipped through a gap in a ruck to make it 26-21 going into the final eight minutes and the odds looked to be against the tiring Racing.

Toulon earned a penalty in front of the posts with three minutes remaining but opted for a scrum and the decision backfired when the referee penalised them at the set-piece.

Racing then broke and forced their own penalty which 112-Test veteran Carter slotted over to clinch a famous victory.

"It's an amazing feeling, it's been the most special season on my life and the way we did it with 14 men," said Carter, who helped New Zealand to World Cup glory in October but limped out injured during the European Cup final defeat by Saracens.

"I don't know how we did it but I'm so relieved," he added.

"It's never easy playing with 14 men. There are some pretty tired boys out there but there is a huge satisfaction in winning."

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