Racing Metro 8 Harlequins 32 match report: Quins make a Racing start in quest for a good Cup run

Quarter-final place now in sight as Londoners take apart French in four-try demolition

Stade de la Beaujoire

Harlequins have been on an upward curve since their successive Heineken Cup losses in October and they carried that good form back into Europe to blow apart a fancied Racing Metro side yesterday.

The bonus-point win here has propelled Harlequins back into contention for a quarter-final spot, and another fruitful outing at The Stoop next weekend will have Conor O’Shea’s men going into the January outings against Clermont and Scarlets with a lot to play for.

The English clubs may be pulling out of the Heineken Cup but Harlequins showed yesterday what the competition will be missing next season as an expensive Racing Metro side were taken apart.

They moved the match to Nantes and brought a crowd of over 29,000 with them, but they seemed to leave the basics behind in Paris as sloppy handling, dreadful kicking and schoolboy tackling was no match for a Quins side who kept it simple but effective throughout.

Nick Evans kicked for territory when it was required and they were devastating when they put the ball through the hands, with Matt Hopper, Mike Brown and Sam Smith dangerous from deep, while George Robson was thunderous up front in a pack which didn’t take a backward step all evening. The net result was a facile win for Harlequins, with Racing never threatening to come back from a 17-3 interval deficit.

Harlequins laid out their stall early against a Racing side who struggled to get up to the pace being set by O’Shea’s team and the only surprise was that it took until the 20th minute for the visitors to hit the front.

Evans’ influence on the game had been increasing and it was a superb step inside Alex Dumoulin and Wenceslas Lauret which created the opening for the out-half through the middle and he brushed past full-back Juan Martin Hernandez to score under the posts.

He added the routine conversion and Racing Metro were further rattled when his opposite number Benjamin Dambielle, preferred to Jonathan Sexton at out-half, sent the restart directly to touch, a mistake he repeated when Quins got in for their second try.

That came after 31 minutes when Mike Brown and Danny Care combined to send Nick Easter barging through and he escaped Dambielle’s tackle to touchdown.

Evans, who had added a 21st-minute penalty from the right, made no mistake with the conversion to push Harlequins 17-0 in front.

Evans kept Racing penned back with some excellent kicking from the hand and their only threat of a try was a good run by Marc Andreu which ended with a grubber which yielded nothing.

Racing pulled back a penalty on the stroke of half-time when Dambielle landed a penalty from 45 metres on the right, but that was his final act as Sexton was introduced at the break.

But the Parisians just could not get a foothold in the match. Evans increased Harlequins lead with a 40-metre penalty four minutes after the restart and shortly afterwards any notion of a French revival was dismissed.

Hernandez failed to deal with a high kick 35 metres from his own line and the ball bounced kindly for Charlie Walker who collected it and sprinted down the right wing to score. Evans converted from the touchline to make it 27-3.

A superb high Sexton crosskick almost put Juan Imhoff in at the left corner but such moments were far and few between from Racing Metro.

They did manage to get over just short of the hour off a line-out take by Camille Gerondeau which ended with Bernard Le Roux getting the touchdown, but that was their last score as Sexton’s conversion from the right went narrowly wide of the left post.

Racing drafted in Mike Phillips, and the Welsh and Lions star showed great hands to collect a poor pass and counter at speed, but Quins snuffed out the danger.

After that it became a matter of Harlequins trying to get the bonus point an while a couple of line-out drives on the right failed to yield the fourth try, they were rewarded ten minutes from the end on the other side of the field.

Racing were unable to contain the drive from a line-out and it was replacement scrum-half Karl Dickson who got the touchdown to secure what could yet be a decisive point for Harlequins.

Now the focus will switch to The Stoop next weekend and O’Shea said afterwards that he expects Racing to hit back. “There will be a backlash, it is only half-time in this contest. But we are pleased, we played good rugby and got the result but we need to back it up next weekend and give ourselves a chance in the final two games in the pool in January. But we are pleased with this performance,” he said.

Line-ups:

Racing Metro: JM Hernandez; B Fall, F Estebanez, A Dumoulin, M Andreu (J Imhoff, 39); B Dambielle (J Sexton 40), M Machenaud (M Phillips, 62); E Ben Arous (D Khinchagishvili, 47), D Szarzewski (V Lacombe, 62), L Ducalcon (B Mujati, 47, Ducalcon, 51)); F van der Merwe (K Fhzal, 22-28, 68), J Kruger; W Lauret, B Le Roux, J Nailiko (C Gerondeau, 47)).

Harlequins: M Brown; C Walker, M Hopper (B Botica, 69), T Casson (T Molenaar, 42), S Smith; N Evans, D Care (K Dickson, 70); J Marler (M Lambert, 70), D Ward, W Collier (P Doran Jones, 56); C Matthews (N Kennedy, 56), G Robson; L Wallace, C Robshaw, N Easter.

Referee: L Hodges (Wales).

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum