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Monday Jun 27, 2016

Racing beat Toulon with just 14 men to claim Top 14 title in Barcelona

Racing beat Toulon with just 14 men to claim Top 14 title in Barcelona

Joe Rokocoko scored a stunning try for the second week in succession as Racing 92 captured their first French league title since 1990 by beating Toulon 29-21 in front of a whopping 99,124 spectators at the Nou Camp in Barcelona.

What was more remarkable for the Parisien side was the fact that they managed to win despite seeing scrum-half Maxime Machenaud red carded early in the first half for a tip-tackle on Matt Giteau.

Toulon, unable to make the most of the man advantage, only led 14-9 at the break through three Leigh Halfpenny penalties and a try from Mamuka Gorgodze.

Racing stayed in touch through the boots of Dan Carter and Johan Goosen and led 21-14 before Joe Rokocoko went over for the decisive try with 20 minutes remaining.

A late Maxime Mermoz try was not enough for Toulon as a final minute penalty from Carter secured a historic title triumph for the Ciels et Blancs.

Machenaud’s red card was clearly a major talking point and had Racing gone on to lose the match, it may have been even more controversial than it was.

The tackle itself was particularly clumsy as Machenaud attempted to drive back Giteau after the Australian got back on his feet. Referee Mathieu Raynaud, having seen Giteau landing on his head and being tipped past the horrizontal, had no option but to send Machenaud off.

What do you make of the incident? Did Machenaud deserve to see red, or would a yellow have been more appropriate considering the magnitude of the occasion?

Watch the Rokocoko try, from a Dan Carter turnover, with English commentary below.

View extended English commentary highlights (15mins) on page two


  • 10stonenumber10
    8:35 AM 29/06/2016

    To the letter of the law, I believe that is officially defined as "taking the p*ss". Rokocoko, DC, the card, everything. We keep going on about North vs South, but it's true. Imagine a career in an aeroplane seat, flying hours to SA and Aus, timezones, altitude differences, the Super Rugby incarnations are the toughest league for a reason. The season may be shorter but each game is a mission. I think that is why a lot of players move North, partly for the wage packet, but mostly for the work/life balance. All the ex-pats in France seem to play better because they play less. No club/country divide, focus on the team, and more time to rest and recover. If you've got it, you have got it.

  • drg
    11:18 PM 28/06/2016

    I am a neutral and I'd agree with you, yellow at most. I sort of feel KaiTeko might have a point.... the movements didn't look 100% natural to me... looked like he forced the landing.. ...or alternatively, maybe he felt himself going and figured if he forces his body to turn more then he'll land on the flat of his back, rather than his head/neck..

  • stripe
    3:14 PM 28/06/2016

    What is with substitutes encroaching on the in-goal area while play is ongoing? They should have been penalized for their actions amid the Rokocoko try.

  • oliver
    9:02 AM 28/06/2016

    absolutely incredible game! I thought for sure it was over when Racing lost playmaker Machenaud after only 18 minutes of play. The ref applied the letter of the law but there was no intent whatsoever from him. I would've given a yellow, but then I'm not neutral here.... anyways super happy to see Racing back on top. The Racing of the 'showbiz' days in the 90's, with Mesnel, Lafond and co, used to make me dream, as young player from the Paris suburbs. also very happy to see French rugby fill that huge stadium. quite a contrast with the half empty venues we saw for the European cup games taking place in England, if I may say so!


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