Carter cameo puts Racing into semifinals
EUROPEAN CUP REPORT: Super-sub Dan Carter played a game-changing cameo as Racing 92 beat Top 14 rivals Clermont 28-17 on Sunday.
The victory set them up for a European Champions Cup semifinal against Munster.
Carter replaced Virimi Vakatawa on the hour mark with strict instructions to speed the game up with ball in hand against a tiring Clermont side.
He did exactly that, the ex-All Black producing a defence-busting jink and pass to Marc Andreu that saw the wing in for a decisive try.
"Coming to play in France, Europe was on my priority list," said Carter, who amassed a world record 1,598 points in 112 Tests for New Zealand.
"Clermont is a tough place to come and play and even tougher to win."
Carter dubbed Munster, who edged three-time champions Toulon 20-19 on Saturday, the "form side in Europe".
"They're a class side, well drilled, so we're going to have pull something special out to get to the final."
Clermont, who were hammered 49-0 by Toulon in the Top 14 last week, took an early lead through three Morgan Parra penalties.
Racing's Fijian lock Leone Nakarawa scored the first try of a fiercely-contested game at a packed-out Marcel-Michelin stadium.
Marc Andreu ducked a tackle and weaved his way upfield before offloading to versatile hooker Camille Chat. The ball was quickly recycled to Nakawara, who saw a gaping hole open up in front of him for a jaunt in to the side of the posts.
Clermont responded immediately through Peter Betham, the Australian wing taking a long Parra pass and fending off Louis Dupichot for a try in the corner.
Maxime Machenaud kicked a penalty to drag Racing to within a point of the home team to leave the game finely poised at half-time.
The France scrumhalf briefly took Racing into the lead with another penalty early in the second period before Parra restored Clermont's hold.
Everything then changed in the space of a couple of minutes after the introduction of super-sub Carter.
First, Carter left the vocal 'yellow army' of home fans raging after he got away with a marginally flat pass that saw Andreu into space and over for Racing's second try.
And then, breaks by Carter and Teddy Thomas left Clermont's defence split, Boris Palu taking a long pass and riding Nick Abendanon's tackle for a five-pointer to bury Clermont's hopes.
Pens: Parra 4
Tries:Nakarawa, Andreu, Palu
Cons: Maxime 2
Pens: Maxime 3
Clermont: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Rémi Lamerat, 11 Remi Grosso, 10 Pato Fernandez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Peceli Yato, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Arthur Iturria, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Etienne Falgoux.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Davit Zirakashvili, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Wesley Fofana.
Racing 92: 15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Yannick Nyanga, 7 Bernard le Roux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Ole Avei, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Boris Palu, 20 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 21 Dan Carter, 22 Xavier Chauveau, 23 Joe Rokocoko.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Thomas Foley (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England