Kiwis in Europe: Nonu could miss final after horrendous head-on collision

By Campbell Burnes

RC Toulon's New Zealand centre Maa Nonu lays on the pitch after a tackle. Photo / Getty Images
RC Toulon's New Zealand centre Maa Nonu lays on the pitch after a tackle. Photo / Getty Images

This weekend's French Top 14 final will feature the two richest clubs in the country doing battle in Paris but All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu might not be there after suffering a horrendous head-on collision in the semifinals.

Racing-Metro are into the decider after an epic, extra time, 34-33 semifinal win against Clermont. Fittingly, it was Dan Carter, who kicked the 99th minute, winning conversion of Juan Imhoff's try. He chalked up 16 points with the boot, with his Kiwi teammates Joe Rokocoko - who scored a try - Ben Tameifuna and Chris Masoe alongside him.
No 8 Fritz Lee scored one of Clermont's tries.

Racing-Metro, also known as Racing 92, will be gunning for their sixth French championship, though first under their current identity. Their last was in 1990 when under the Racing Club de France guise, when Franck Mesnel ran the cutter and they ran out for the 1987 final wearing bow ties.

They will face four-time French champion Toulon, who may well be without Nonu, after beating Montpellier 27-18. The former All Blacks midfielder scored a try, but was later helped off after collision with Montpellier centre Anthony Tuitavake.

Toulon, who also have Tom Taylor on their books, will look to regain the Bouclier de Brennus they last won in 2014.

Carter himself was on the podium with Perpignan in 2009 when the southern club won the Top 14, but he was on the injured list after tearing his Achilles tendon.

So whilst he suffered the disappointment, last month, of losing the European Champions Cup final to English club Saracens, Carter will be seeking to add a bonafide, on-field Top 14 title to a series of NPC (1) and Super Rugby (3) titles, plus a Ranfurly Shield and the 2015 Rugby World Cup. That would cement his status as the most decorated player in the game.

- NZ Herald

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