Nonu out of historic Top 14 final


Toulon will have to do without Ma'a Nonu when they attempt to regain the Top 14 title in a historic final against Racing 92 at a packed Camp Nou on Friday.

Former All Black Nonu was knocked out and suffered concussion following a collision with compatriot Anthony Tuitavake during the 27-18 semi-final defeat of Montpellier last week.

The centre will play no part in the first Top 14 final to be contested overseas, so misses out on facing his former New Zealand team-mate Dan Carter.

Toulon will be out for revenge, having lost to Racing in the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup back in April, when Maxime Machenaud's late penalty proved to be decisive.

While Racing were able to prevent Toulon from being crowned European champions for the fourth time in a row, they suffered the anguish of losing to Saracens in the final last month.

Carter was not fully fit in the showdown with Sarries and the mercurial fly-half is determined to finish his first season at Racing on a high note in a game being staged in front of an expected crowd of 98,000 at the iconic Barcelona stadium due to Euro 2016.

He said: "It [Barcelona] was like my second home when I was living in Perpignan. It's a great place and to have such an important game there is going to be amazing.

"It's a historical game, I'm extremely proud of the team to get there, but we go there for a reason: to try to win.

"It means a lot [to make it to the Final]. Obviously to experience it [when Perpignan won the title in 2009] was great, but I didn't play."

Inspirational Toulon back row Steffon Armitage will be eager to end his prosperous spell at the club in style as he prepares to join Pau, while Nonu's absence opens the door for Mathieu Bastareaud to start.

Bernard Laporte's Toulon side beat Castres to be crowned French champions for a fourth time two years ago, while Racing last lifted the Bouclier de Brennus' trophy back in 1990

Racing were fourth at the end of the season and kept their hopes of winning a sixth title alive when Carter nailed an extra-time conversion following a last-gasp try from Juan Imhoff to see off Clermont Auvergne 34-33 in a dramatic semi-final