Racing-Métro secured a historic win that effectively eliminated Saracens from the Heineken Cup. No French side had won in Watford but the Parisians were impressive in this Pool Two match. Tries in either half from Juan Martin Hernandez and Sireli Bobo inflicted a third successive defeat on Saracens.
The English team's head coach, Brendan Venter, who will return to South Africa next month, said: "It was important to win and I'm very disappointed. I'm not sure what went wrong. I will have to go and look and think about the game deeply. I was happy with my team and it wasn't a lack of effort. But three cheers for Sireli. He produced a bit of magic and it was a very good try. What a genius."
Sarries took to the field with one bonus point to their name after losses to Clermont Auvergne and Leinster. They got off to a wonderful start, scoring a fine try within six minutes. A storming run by their American full-back, Chris Wyles, put them into an excellent position and sharp offloading and quick hands from Andrew Saull and the England wing David Strettle (who was playing at outside centre) sent the wing Noah Cato over the Racing line.
Owen Farrell, who was given the No 10 shirt after impressing against Harlequins last week, missed the conversion but he made no mistake with a penalty in the 13th minute to increase the lead to eight points.
The Racing fly-half, Jonathan Wisniewski, then kicked a long-range penalty before the centre Francois Steyn kicked a monster from four metres inside his own half to make the score 8-6 at the end of an even opening quarter. Racing went ahead for the first time in the 24th minute when Hernandez, the Argentina full-back who joined Racing after a spell in the Super 14 with the Sharks, capitalised on a defensive mix-up between Wyles and Brad Barritt. That gave the Parisians a 13-8 half-time lead.
Steyn kicked a second penalty in the 55th minute, after Saracens were penalised at the scrum. Farrell brought his team back within touching distance with successful kicks in the 57th and 65th minutes but then the 34-year-old Bobo displayed the speed of an Olympic sprinter to beat a despairing tackle from Wyles and touch down in the right corner. Barritt gave Sarries a lifeline with three minutes remaining when he scored from Strettle's pass, but Racing held on.
Barritt said: "Brendan was happy with the way we played and we were in the match until the last 10 minutes. We've slipped off one tackle and it has cost us. We are disappointed but we have a lot of pride and we will try to rectify things in the final games."
Saracens face Racing in Paris next weekend before playing Leinster in Dublin and Clermont at home in the new year.
Saracens: C Wyles; N Cato, D Strettle, B Barritt, J Short; O Farrell, N de Kock (R Wigglesworth, 52); R Gill (D Carstens, 52), S Brits (J George, 52), P du Plessis (C Nieto, 52), S Borthwick (capt), M Botha (G Kruis, 52), J Burger, E Joubert, A Saull.
Racing-Métro: JM Hernandez (D Scarbrough, 66); S Bobo, H Chavancy, F Steyn, M Bergamasco; J Wisniewski, M Lorée; A Lo Cicero, C Festuccia (B Noirot, 66), J Orlandi, S Dellape (K Ghezal, 70), J Nailiko, J Leo (R Vaquiin, 53), S Chabal (capt), J Cronje (B le Roux, 68).
Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).Reuse content