Thanks to Jonathan Sexton's right boot, another try from winger Marc Andreu who is counting four tries on his three last home games and an exceptional francilian defense towards the end of the match, Racing Metro 92 won over ASM Clermont-Auvergne in Day 1 of HCup 13-9. A wise performance which permits to the Labit-Travers' players to start off this 2013-2014 European competition in good position. (Crédit : Julien Poupart // Attitude Rugby).
Some could say that this Racing’s success over Clermont looked like a reference match. Some others would say that this strong, fierce and unbreakable defense over the Clermont assault in the last couple of minutes will be key asset for the rest of the season. But surely, everybody is fine with saying that this performance launches the Ciel et Blanc’s 2013-2014 European exercise the best possible way, against last years’ unfortunate finalist.
As a matter of fact, everybody would be right, as francilians came back to their changing-rooms with bright smiles. A joyful bunch of lads expressing their happiness of starting their HCup by a home success, but also satisfied of showing up solidarity against an opponent which will for sure, defeat many teams this season. “This kind of exhaustion feeling I have right now, I would have it every week, smiled Fabrice Estebanez naked at the end of the match. We really wanted to show something tonight, that Racing had a soul, had solidarity. Tonight, there always was a mate coming as support to the other when visitors were pounding hard. This achieved, we can build up from that easier…” Because truth is that Ciel et Blanc are building up and growing up as a team each game goes by. Here is a number which demonstrates all the engagement and fighting spirit put into the game by the francilians tonight at the Yves-du-Manoir Stadium : 142 successful tackles against 29, only we would be tempted to say, from the Clermont players. “We needed heart, said Dimitri Szarzewski. And tonight, I am proud. We find ourselves in solidarity, team spirit and the wish to do great, all together. I think that tonight, we can actually talk about a reference match…”
Even though weird decisions were going against the Ciel et Blanc, Racing managed to stay confident. The referee of the match took out of his pocket this yellow card and aimed it towards Davit Khinchagishvili as the Georgian prop got caught by a visitor player… weird… As strange as this play that released Racing. At the very start of the play, a flagrant forward pass from ASM side, not whistled out, benefitted to speedy Nalaga who crossed the pitch from one end to the other. Marc Andreu came out of nowhere, snatched the ball of him and ran straight back the other way, an eighty meter run to once more mark his new territory. Another try scored by the International French coming from Castres this summer who found the opponents’ in-goal area for the fourth time during the three last home matches. And then came those last couple of minutes sealing the game. Two minutes to be exactly right. A team spirit came out of that, proving that players want to grow up together, said Coach Labit, happy of his players’ performance. Those two last minutes will be fundamental for the rest of the season”. To conclude we would say that this was a real team win. Everyone will agree with this.
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Friday 19th August