Racing 92 vs Toulouse highlights
In their latest clash in the Top 14, Racing 92 narrowly defeated Toulouse 27-25 in an entertaining match at Paris La Défense Arena. Racing opened the scoring through a penalty kick from Kurtley Beale early on, but Toulouse struck back with tries from Romain Ntamack and Matthis Lebel to lead at the break.
The second half saw plenty of attacking flair from both sides. Racing responded right after half time with a converted try from Juan Imhoff to draw level at 13-all.
Toulouse edged back ahead with another penalty, before Racing took control through further tries from Henry Chavancy and Max Spring to lead 27-16. A late consolation try from Thomas Ramos set up a tense finish, but Racing did enough to secure a hard-fought two point victory.
Some highlights included Ntamack’s first half try which showcased the fly-half’s vision and playmaking ability, while Chavancy’s try displayed great power and strength from the veteran centre. Imhoff also impressed with his pace and finishing on the wing. Ultimately Racing had just enough to withstand a typically determined fightback from the Toulouse side.
Top 14 standings
After 15 rounds, Toulouse still lead the Top 14 standings with 60 points. However, their lead has been cut after recent losses to fellow heavyweights La Rochelle and Racing 92. Just three points behind are La Rochelle and Racing, both tied on 57 points in what is shaping up as a tight race for the minor premiership.
Bordeaux-Begles sit fourth on 50 points, ahead of Castres Olympique (48 points), Toulon (47) and Lyon (44) who currently occupy the other finals spots. Perpigan (37) and Stade Francais (36) remain in contention for the top six, while Brive, Pau, Clermont and Montpellier will likely battle to avoid the bottom two relegation places.
With seven rounds remaining, Toulouse still remain favourites to claim another Top 14 title. However their recent stumbles have opened the door for the chasing pack, with La Rochelle and Racing both building momentum before the finals. Securing a top two spot and home semi-final will be crucial.
Toulouse rugby team roster
Toulouse possess arguably the deepest squad in the Top 14, reflected in their table topping position. In the forwards, South African powerhouse Rynhardt Elstadt leads a dynamic back row also featuring François Cros and Jerome Kaino.
Internationals Dorian Aldegheri, Julien Marchand and Cyril Baille form the nucleus of a formidable front row. Young locks Emmanuel Meafou and Richie Arnold provide size and physicality through the engine room.
The legendary Antoine Dupont orchestrates the backline from halfback, while Romain Ntamack has emerged as a rising playmaking superstar at fly-half.
Centres Pita Akhi and Pierre Fouyssac bring experience and hard running, with outstanding wings Matthis Lebel, Arthur Bonneval, Dimitri Delibes and Ange Capuozzo supplying speed, skill and try-scoring threat from wider channels. Dependable fullback Thomas Ramos helps knit the attacking weapons together with his distribution and kicking game.
Toulouse’s roster is brimming with Wallabies, All Blacks and French international talent, plus a host of budding young stars. Ntamack and Dupont are already dominating on the global stage, while the likes of Meafou and Capuozzo continue to enhance reputations with consistent Top 14 performances.
Previous encounters between Racing 92 and Toulouse
As two of the modern powerhouses in French rugby, Racing 92 and Toulouse have enjoyed some epic encounters in recent seasons. Toulouse claimed their most recent clash by a thrilling one point margin, just weeks after Racing also narrowly toppled them.
Their Round 7 fixture last October saw a high scoring thriller, with seven tries shared as Toulouse ultimately prevailed 32-27. Star halfback Dupont scored one and set up multiple others, outpointing opposite number Maxime Machenaud who notched 22 points for Racing.
Earlier last year in Round 22, Racing upset Toulouse at home by a nailbiting 28-26 scoreline. Trailing 26-14 with twenty minutes remaining, Racing rallied through converted tries from joint captains Camille Chat and Wenceslas Lauret to steal victory at the death. Hooker Chat led the way with 16 points in a man of the match display for the victors.
The results have been similarly close across their past half dozen meetings. Their contrasting exciting brands of rugby invariably mesh into free flowing, high octane contests between two of the most talent-laden rosters in Europe. With Tiny margins often deciding results, another classic chapter appears in the making when they meet during the climactic final phase of the current Top 14 campaign.
Top 14 fixtures
As the Top 14 approaches the business end, Round 16 presents some blockbuster fixtures between finals contenders. Headlining is the heavyweight clash between leaders Toulouse hosting third placed La Rochelle in a top of the table showdown.
Just two points split them so the result could determine who claims the minor premiership and all important home ground advantage for the semi-finals.
Second placed Racing 92 face Bordeaux, fourth on the ladder in another crunch clash between championship hopefuls. Consistency has been an issue for Bordeaux throughout an up and down campaign – they will need to reverse recent home losses to Toulouse and Pau to remain on track for a rare finals appearance.
Fifth placed Castres take on Lyon in vital match for both team’s top six ambitions, while improving Toulon play Brive as they target a seventh straight finals campaign. Seventh placed Perpignan desperately need to upset high flying Clermont to maintain late season momentum.
The Round culminates with Stade Francais clashing with fellow Parisians Racing on Sunday night for French capital bragging rights. Led by returning Wallaby Kurtley Beale, Racing will aim to score a psychological blow heading into the finals over their bitter city rivals.
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