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Hats off to Leinster after giving Racing’s beret brigade the boot | Paul Rees

Leinster had the nous to edge a cagey Champions Cup final that looked to be heading for extra time until Racing 92 cracked

Racing’s players ran on to the pitch wearing berets, a nod to the host city that is regarded as the capital of the Basque region. They did the same 31 years ago when playing a Top 14 match in Bayonne, a period when some of the club’s players formed the Eden Park leisure clothing brand. When they faced Brive in April 1987, they took to the field in blazers and pink bow ties, and they sported harem pants the following week against Toulouse.

They were known then as the showbiz kids but a cup final comes under the factual rather than entertainment category. With heavy rain falling, Dan Carter withdrawing from the bench on Friday with a hamstring strain and the player he was understudying, Pat Lambie, lasting two minutes before he suffered a knee injury, black seemed the appropriate colour for Racing. It was so only at the end, having matched Leinster for every stride.

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