These finals remain in the throats of Racing 92 players. Twice, the Ile-de-France residents came close to the European title, but on two occasions the winning strategy of the Saracens in 2016 and the cold realism of Leinster two years later shattered their dreams. We take a look back at two painful experiences which allowed the workforce led by manager Laurent Travers to acquire the famous experience essential to climb the last step.
2016: a strategic error
All the planets were aligned that year. The Ile-de-France club had with the New Zealander Dan Carter, double world champion with the All Blacks, a man of experience. What’s more, the final took place in France in Lyon in the new stadium built for Euro football. But nothing is going to go as planned. The dominating Saracens in melee, suffocate their opponent, apply surgical rugby and tirelessly push back the blue and white waves. Victory 21-9 without a single try scored on both sides.
“We were beaten in the strategy, remembers Maxime Machenaud. We remember very well that final where they cornered us in our camp, they put a lot of pressure on us. (Despite) the weather conditions (heavy rain), they were not stronger in the game but strategically. “
The scrum-half, who will be a substitute this Saturday in Bristol, adds: “It was from that moment that we knew that when we respected a strategy and were sure of our strength, we could win. “.
The best moments of the final
2018: a defeat on the wire
The final takes place that year in Bilbao. Still in the rain. The Racing players who enter the lawn with a Basque beret on their heads, race in the lead throughout the game managing to contain the assaults of Irish Leinster and their playing master Jonathan Sexton, who returned from Racing after a failed experience in France between 2013 and 2015. But indiscipline will be costly.
What follows is captain Henry Chavancy who tells it: “We were leading five minutes from the end and we took two penalties which made us lose the match (15-12). We really worked very hard so that this time the details were in our favor ”.
A feeling shared by Machenaud. “With the experience of two finals lost, we hope not to repeat the same mistakes and that it turns in our favor on Saturday. “
The 2018 final
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr