Racing's drop goal went much further wide than we first thought 4 years ago

Racing's drop goal went much further wide than we first thought

Rob Kearney followed its' flight all the way out of play.

Remi Tales did a remarkably good job for Racing 92 in the tough circumstances into which he was pitched.

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An hour before the Champions Cup final, Tales was named on the Racing bench after Dan Carter failed a late fitness test. Two minutes and 50 seconds into the match and his tracksuit top was off. He was on for the badly injured Pat Lambie.

Teddy Iribaren, Yannick Nyannga, Bernard Roux and Donnacha Ryan all had superb games for the French side but Tales was ticking along nicely, until the 77th minute.

Having given considerable leeway to Racing's high-press defensive line all game, referee Wayne Barnes then pinged Tales for deliberate offside right in front of the posts. Play went on for a few phases before Barnes deemed there to be no advantage. On 78;24, Isa Nacewa put Leinster ahead for the first time in the game.

Still, Racing had time to get into scoring position when Baptiste Chouzenoux won the restart for his side. Racing made ground all the way up to the Leinster 22 and looked comfortable enough but the decision was made to go for the drop goal.

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As much as the likes of Virimi Vakawata and Henry Chavancy tried to pretend they were up for a carry, the Leinster lads knew what was coming. Five players, including Scott Fardy, Jack Conan and Andrew Porter, burst forward to either put Tales off or block the drop.

Credit: direct 2

Speaking to us after the game, Conan said:

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"I remember, I was negative D1 beside the ruck and the 9 [Iribaren] passed it back to Tales and I just sprinted for my life. I was nowhere near it but I just hit the ground, turned and saw it going wide.

"Oh, it was an unbelievable moment... It took me a second to find the ball [in the air] but I saw Rob Kearney was chasing it, and it going dead. I knew 80 minutes was up. Incredible moments. Incredible feeling."

Fans watching the game on TV would have just seen the kick drift left and wide but there were no replays in the immediate aftermath. Watching in the stands at San Mames, the kicked appeared to land close to the corner of the in-goal area.

The ball is circled below as it crossed over the tryline markings and you can see Kearney following it out as his teammates celebrate.

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Tales and Teddy Thomas, who has squandered position before Leinster's final penalty, did not appear in the mixed zone for interviews after their side's 15-12 loss.

One can hardly blame them. Both played a part in their side's excellent season so far but will now look back on that day in Bilbao with deep regret.