The countdown is well and truly on for Bilbao where Leinster and Racing 92 will face off in the Champions Cup final.
These two sides will go toe-to-toe in just two weeks time and it should be an epic occasion in the Spanish city.
Leinster go into that game with a two-week break whereas Racing 92 have to play a Top 14 fixture next weekend against Agen at the U-Arena.
If that wasn’t already a disadvantage, Racing have been hit with a double injury blow ahead of the final with the news that Maxime Machenaud and Dimitri Szarzewski will miss the final.
The scrum-half, who has been nominated for European Player Of The Season, ruptured knee ligaments in his side’s win over Bordeaux Begles at the weekend.
Machenaud has had an incredible season for both club and country. He has proven to be world-class from the tee but more importantly, his ability to run his backline has been exceptional this season and his threat from the base of the ruck will be sorely missed in Bilbao.
Très triste d’avoir à vous annoncer que la saison se termine pour moi. Victime d’une rupture totale des ligaments croisés, je vais devoir rester éloigné des terrains quelques temps. Je sais que je suis très bien entouré, ma famille et mes amis sauront m’épauler au mieux. Je ne lâcherai mon rêve de gosse pour rien au monde et je reviendrai + fort pour atteindre mon objectif ultime de 2019. ?? Toujours le premier supporter de mes frères du @racing92 pour aller chercher cette étoile et finir la saison comme il se doit ! ??⭐️ ?⚪️
Dimitri Szarzewski has also been ruled out after undergoing an operation on a torn bicep which has ruled him out for the rest of the season.
It certainly is a damaging blow for Racing 92 and it only reinforces Leinster’s favourites tag for the final.