The finals experience
On October 17, in the Ashton Gate stadium in Bristol, Racing 92 will play, against Exeter, the third European final in its history, after those lost in 2016 against the Saracens and in 2018 against Leinster.
Opposite, the English will be novices at this level of the competition.
The experience is therefore on the side of the Sky and White.
“We have taken a new step but the next will be essential.
We really want to be champions.
We made two finals, the third we do not want to lose ”, insists the scrum half and captain Teddy Iribaren.
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Imhoff:" We said to ourselves that we really wanted this star "
An undeniable strength of character
Long padlocked and without a solution on Saturday against the Saracens, the Parisians never gave up, they did not collapse before forcing their destiny on a late try (the only one of the match) after a perfect little kick from Finn Russell well captured by Virimi Vakatawa and concluded by Argentine winger Juan Imhoff.
For a success on the wire (19-15).
Manager Laurent Travers highlights the fact that his “players have shown a real mental capacity.
When we go looking for this kind of meeting, it means that the team is very strong mentally ”.
Sure of its strength and its game plan, Racing never doubted when it came time to reach the final.
Fearsome X factors
Since arriving at its Arena in Nanterre, Racing 92 has decided to develop ambitious offensive rugby.
And to stick to this desire to produce the game, the Jacky Lorenzetti club has recruited players known for their talents with the ball in hand.
First there is the brilliant Scottish opener Finn Russell, able, at any time, to unlock a game by his inspiration or his precious kicking.
This year, the Altoséquanais club attracted the Australian Kurtley Beale, who can play in several positions behind.
The Wallaby with 92 caps has, for many seasons, proven himself on the international scene.
Suspended, he will be available again for the final.
Racing also has three extraordinary talents in its three-quarter line: center Virimi Vakatawa, a real wall-breaker in the middle of the field, the elusive winger Teddy Thomas and Irish full-back Simon Zebo.
So many X factors that will be invaluable against a particularly playful Exeter team.
A triumphant youth
Beyond the big names that it can line up on the field, Racing also shines with its ability to train and develop young talents.
“Don't forget that nine out of twenty-three players (eight in fact on Saturday, Editor's note) come from the training center.
So that means that the club is building, that the club is doing the right thing.
It's a long-term job, ”recalls Laurent Travers.
The entries, at the hour of play, of the young guard (Hassane Kolingar, Teddy Baubigny, Georges-Henri Colombe, Ali Oz and Boris Palu) allowed Racing to get their hands on the ball, to accelerate and to place a decisive attack against the "Sarries".
Other club executives, since his return to the elite in 2009-2010, have also been trained in Hauts-de-Seine: Henry Chavancy, Eddy Ben Arous, Bernard Le Roux or Virimi Vakatawa.
The quality of Racing's training is well established.
In the continuity of last season
With a workforce that has changed little in the offseason, the 92 club - undefeated in six matches since the resumption of rugby in mid-August - is a continuation of last season.
The automatisms were not difficult to find.
"We are a mature team", supports Teddy Iribaren, who recalls that "the bench of Saracens was much less efficient than ours.
Today we have a very complete workforce.
If we have four injured players, it doesn't show.
This is what makes us strong, in addition to our strength of character. ”
A homogeneous and competitive group which has, as Laurent Travers suggests, "80 minutes to be able to embroider a first star on the sky and white jersey".
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