Leinster v Racing 92, Champions Cup final 2018

Marcus Newton
May 13, 2018

Laurent Labit was understandably frustrated at Racing's defeat in Bilbao, having lost 15-12 to a Isa Nacewa kick with just two minutes remaining. He changed the quarter-final against Clermont and the game changed a lot when he came on against Munster.

Leinster coach Cullen said he was "absolutely delighted" while acknowledging that it had been a "very hard day". Remi Tales had an attempt at a drop goal as the clock passed the 80 minute mark, but to no avail.

Leinster have looked convincing throughout the entire campaign and are in Spain, along with KCLR's Brendan Hennessy and Mick Quinn, for today's big final.

Racing, also missing first-choice playmaker Maxime Machenaud, suffered a major blow when Carter, named on the replacements bench, was ruled out an hour before kickoff due to a hamstring injury.

While a rich Racing do have players from over nine nationalities to choose from, Cullen's Cup-winning side boast the bulk of the Irish team that claimed the Six Nations "Grand Slam", something Labit was keen to highlight speaking after the game via The Irish Independent.

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Leinster had scored 31 tries in their eight Champions Cup games this season but they never broke the deadlock as Racing defended furiously throughout a tight match.

Sexton missed a long-distance chance to level nearly instantly as Cedate Gomes Sa didn't retreat and, when Barnes awarded the penalty, Eddy Ben Arous kicked the ball away and the English referee brought the penalty into the Racing half but it proved too far for the No 10.

Racing took command in the second half as they went through the phases and were rewarded with an early penalty converted by Iribaren.

That lead lasted just over 10 minutes as Nacewa launched a Leinster attack down the left wing that led to a penalty for the Irish province.

With no side ever getting any further than three points ahead of the other, it was with some surprise that Johnny Sexton stepped away from kicking-duty in the place of the departing Nacewa.

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