Maxime Machenaud’s Return Well Timed For Racing92

Racing 92 v Lyon OU - French Top 14
Dan Carter of Racing 92 turns the Lyon defence during the French Top 14 match between Racing 92 and Lyon OU at Stade Yves Du Manoir on August 27, 2016 in Paris, France (Getty Images)

Maxime Machenaud’s return against Lyon was the perfect warm-up prior to a major test against ToulouseRacing 92‘s first rate scrum half returned to play last week against Lyon to give fans faith the Paris men can defend their home against the unbeaten Toulouse.

Maxime Machenaud return well timed

Machenaud had been suspended following a red card he received in the Top 14 final against Toulon [2015/2016 season]. Machenaud’s presence was greatly missed during The Racing 92 season opener against Bordeaux. The failure at the ruck in that game states the quality of play from Maxime Machenaud. His leadership at the ruck is among the best in the Top 14, which will be necessary against Toulouse.

Machenaud will be battling against the up and coming scrum half, Sebastian Bézy. Bézy has performed so well during his three years with Toulouse, he earned his first few test caps for France during the Six Nations. The showdown between these two elite scrum halfs will truly define the upcoming game in Paris.

Dan Carter shows no effects of age in second season with Racing 92

In the professional age, rugby is a young man’s sport. The power and speed required to compete in today’s game tends to break down rapidly over time. Dan Carter, former All Black and fly half for Racing 92, is determined to defy that notion.

In his second season with Racing 92 and at 34, Dan Carter isn’t the oldest Professional Rugby player by any means. However, he has been in the public eye for significantly longer than most. With an average career of seven years, Dan Carter’s time as an All Black; at 13 years, is almost double that.

Carter’s longevity has been a subject of discussion ever since he began his career with Racing 92. People everywhere have been waiting to see signs of the inevitable slow down of a long career. This former All Black refuses to give those fans the satisfaction so far this season.

In the first two games of the season Carter has had a 70% success rate from the tee. He also still has the speed and maneuverability to make the stops that his team needs.

Video Courtesy of Rugbyvids

Although the Rugby world will have to come to the realization that Dan Carter will not last forever, that day does not appear to have come as yet. Among the esteemed ‘veterans’ of the rugby world, he is a talent Toulouse must focus attention on to.

Will Toulouse’s perfect record be maintained?

Toulouse has performed extremely well this season so far. After the end of week two of play, Toulouse is the only team in the Top 14 with a perfect record. They are also one of only two teams in the Top 14 that has not played an away game during those two weeks. The other, Bayonne, has also not yet lost a game. Toulouse has done extremely well. Sebastian Bézy has been absolutely perfect from the tee so far this season.

Although the tries have been lean–three in two games and all from different people–the kicking has more than made up for it. The only problem is, they haven’t been tested on the road yet this season. Definitely not be a team with the credentials as last year’s champions Racing. Toulouse has not performed well on the road recently, which may spell disaster for the Toulouse squad. Last year, they won only five out of eighteen road matches during Top 14 play. Anyone can win at home, only champions find a way to win on the road.

We will see what this year’s squad is made of when they enter the hostile environment in Paris, to take on Racing 92.

RACvTOU
Maxime Machenaud of Racing 92 during the Play-off Top 14 match between Racing 92 and Toulouse at Stade Yves Du Manoir on June 11, 2016 in Paris, France (Getty)

Toulouse has performed very well so far this season, but this first road test may very well be too much for them. Racing 92 also has an excellent home record. With the return last week of of Maxime Machenaud (pictured) and Dan Carter’s continued high level of performance, expect the game to be exciting.

Ultimately, the edge has to go to the reigning Top 14 champs.

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Image courtesy of Getty Images.

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