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).

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Arts and Entertainment
film
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

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style