Dan Carter and Racing 92 Look to Repeat as Top 14 Champions

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Racing Metro 92 players warm up prior to the French Top 14 rugby union match between Montpellier and Racing 92 on April 22, 2017 at the Altrad Stadium in Montpellier, Southern France. / AFP PHOTO / Franck PENNANT (Photo credit should read FRANCK PENNANT/AFP/Getty Images)
Following a difficult regular season, Dan Carter and Racing 92 will face off against Montpellier in the first round of the Top 14 playoffs.

The list of problems have been numerous for Racing 92 ever since their Top 14 title run from last year. It started with allegations of illicit performance enhancements against Dan Carter, Juan Imhoff, as well as others. The squad also had internal issues, Johan Goosen made the controversial move to retire at the early age of 23.

Dan Carter himself was arrested for drink driving and lost his license for that indiscretion. And to cap-off the troubles,  Ali Williams was caught at a Paris night club with Cocaine and subsequently fired. Add to that, the botched merger between Stade Francais and Racing 92 – 2017 has sure had it’s ups and downs.

With all the problems off the pitch that Racing has experienced, it is surprising that they weren’t fighting off relegation. The fact that they make the Top 14 playoffs is a testament to their abilities as a team. Their ability to overcome adversity this past season has been absolutely inspiring.

Play-offs Bring Out the Best in Racing 92

Racing played on the road very well in the playoffs last season. With an overtime win against Clermont in the semi finals. As with most French teams, their road record this year has not been good, but when playoffs come…Racing will be ready.

It is currently unknown how much more time Dan Carter will have as a professional rugby player. The two-time Rugby World Cup winner would love to add some more hardware to his collection before that day comes. To show that, while in the early part of the season his kicking was very inconsistent (and not at all what we expected from Carter over the years) in his last 3 matches, he has had nine successful kicks out of 11.

Supported well by the entire squad, his try in the final rounds of this season was one that gave Racing the crucial win over Bordeaux, and their 2016/17 playoff berth.

Montpellier Powerful Defense Ready to Shut Down Racing 92 Attack

One month ago these two teams faced off in similar circumstances to this upcoming match. Montpellier was an absolute force to be reckoned with in that match. Montpellier scored eight tries and did not allow any in their home match. Their play was also clean enough to only give up one penalty kick all match giving an absolutely dominant performance.

The ability of Montpellier to hold off such a powerful attacking team shows the traditional French background to their team.

Montpellier’s French scrum-half Benoit Paillaugue (R) passes the ball during the French Top 14 rugby union match with Stade Français on May 6 , 2017 at the Altrad stadium in Montpellier, (Photo credit PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images)

This Showdown Will be Epic

With Montpellier’s dominant defense and Racing offensive weapons like Juan Imhoff, expect this match to be truly amazing. Carter and the rest of the Racing 92 squad have worked hard to come back from a very difficult position throughout this season; in as low a standing as ninth at one point.

Expect great things from this weekend and this matchup.

Montpellier v Racing 92 – May 20, 4:00pm (GMT)

 

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