Racing claim Top 14 title despite red card

9:31 PM GMT

Racing Metro shrugged off an 18th-minute red card to defeat Toulon in a momentous Top 14 final.

The Parisians lost scrum-half Maxime Machenaud before the first quarter was up at the Nou Camp, after the France international was sent off for a tip tackle on Matt Giteau.

Leigh Halfpenny nudged 2014 champions Toulon in front with two penalties before the huge frame of Georgia’s Mamuka Gorgodze powered its way through the Racing line for the opening try.

The Racing fans inside the vast stadium — home of Spanish football giants Barcelona — would have been forgiven for feeling nervous.

However, with Machenaud gone, up stepped a fine reserve kicker in the form of World Cup-winning fly-half Dan Carter, who booted them back in touch before half-time.

With the score at 14-12 in Toulon’s favour as the second-half got underway, a Xavier Chiocci yellow card for going offside at a maul threw their lead into disarray.

Carter was joined in the kicking duties by South Africa Johan Goosen and the two pair swung the game in Racing’s favour despite the deficit in headcount terms, Goosen landing a couple of penalties before Carter added another.

Then came the try that put Racing in the driving seat. Veteran All Black Joe Rokocoko crossed just before the hour mark to send fans from the French capital into ecstasy.

Maxime Mermoz struck back with another Toulon try 10 minutes later, but the 14-man Racing held on before a late penalty allowed Carter to seal the deal and claim a title in his first season in France.

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