Last year’s Champions Cup finalists Racing 92 will try to improve their position in the Champions Cup this weekend against Glasgow.
Racing 92 had a difficult start to their season this year. Going into the opening round of Champions Cup play Racing was 4-4 in the Top 14. Frequent injury to key personnel, such as Dan Carter, made finding a rhythm very difficult early on in the season. In Champions Cup play, Racing 92 only had one game, due to Munster’s game being canceled for Anthony Foley’s death. This game was on the road in Leicester the week after Glasgow upset the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists at home. The game proved to be too much for Racing who lost 27-17. Racing 92 was left at the bottom of the table with zero points due to the results of this contest.
Controlled substance use will not be a distraction during this round of Champions Cup play.
Following Racing 92’s Championship of the Top 14, Newspaper L’Equipe released an article stating that multiple players on the Racing 92 team had tested positive for performance enhancing medications. The persons in question included Top 14 try leader Juan Imhoff, Joe Rokocoko and the beloved Dan Carter. The controversy played out directly over the first round of Champions cup play. Racing management stated that “We’re on the side of law, ethics, and love of a clean sport.” The matter has since been resolved by French Rugby and the Racing players were found to have committed no errors. Although Racing was confident of the innocence of their players, a drug scandal inevitably will take a toll on the team.
Injury prone Dan Carter is in fine form going into this week of play.
Dan Carter has been plagued by a series of injuries this season for Racing. He has missed half of the matches that the Paris squad has been involved in this season. These injuries have caused many to question how much longer Carter has before retirement. Those questions will have to wait a little longer as Dan Carter is fit and ready for the showdown against Glasgow. Dan Carter’s return helped the much beleaguered Racing team take number three ranked La Rochelle to a draw on the road last week. Dan Carter’s return is a great sight to rugby fans of the world. It will be wonderful to see him display his talents on the European stage again.
Both teams looking to benefit from the return of international players.
Glasgow was hit very hard by the fall international series. With only two professional teams to choose from, Scotland clubs usually are pillaged anytime international season comes around. Glasgow suffered severely with a three game losing streak in the Pro 12. The return of Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, Alex Dunbar, and Jonny Gray will bolster the Glasgow 15 just in time for a must win for both teams. Stuart Hogg is one of the premiere Fullbacks in Europe, and left the international series with two tries over the three matches. Jonny Gray had one try in the series, and was awarded man of the match in the test against Argentina. The internationals have had a week off, and Glasgow players and fans alike will be excited for their return this week.
Maxime Machenaud made his return to Racing 92 last week, but only played for 65 minutes. His return to full time play will be helpful to Racing. During the Autumn internationals Maxime Machenaud scored 27 points over the 3 matches for France. Machenaud is a great backup kicker for Dan Carter should he need it
This matchup is a do or die game for both squads. The winner of this match is still in the running for the Champions cup, but the other may as well pull their starters for domestic play. It will be a very enjoyable match for everyone involved
Racing 92 V Glasgow
Stafe Olympique Yves Du Manoir, France