Racing open season by crushing Northampton
EURO CUP MATCH REPORT: Racing 92 overwhelmed Northampton 45-14 in the opening match of the Champions Cup season.
Finn Russell orchestrated the Parisian attack with four “assists” in Northampton.
The Scottish flyhalf set up two tries for winger Juan Imhoff and two of flanker Wenceslas Lauret’s three tries.
While the Saints, who are third in the English Premiership, went through hell on their home turf, Racing rebounded from three straight Top 14 losses in emphatic style.
“We said we wanted a reaction,” said Lauret.
“The European Cup is important to us and we wanted to find ourselves, to regain confidence. Mission accomplished.”
The French club went for the throat from the start.
Two penalties from Maxime Machenaud put the visitors six points up after four minutes.
Then Russell put Lauret over in the eighth minute.
After Machenaud kicked another penalty, Russell’s inside pass sent Imhoff over in the 20th minute.
Courtnall Skosan hit back with a try for the Saints but Russell set up a second for Imhoff after 36 minutes and Racing led 28-7 at half-time.
Russell’s offload sent Lauret sliding across the line again in the first minute of the second half.
Fraser Dingwall gave Saints a glimmer of hope which another Machenaud penalty and a third Lauret try extinguished
For Northampton Saints
Tries: Skosan, Dingwall
Cons: Biggar, Furbank
For Racing 92
Tries: Lauret 3, Imhoff 2
Cons: Machenaud 4
Pens: Machenaud 4
Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank, 14 Tommy Freeman, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Fraser Dingwall, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Alex Mitchell, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Lewis Ludlam (captain), 6 Karl Wilkins, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Ehren Painter, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Conor Carey, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Frank Lomani, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Ollie Sleightholme.
Racing 92: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou (c), 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Yoan Tanga, 7 Ibrahim Diallo, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Bernard Le Roux, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Ali Oz, 2 Teddy Baubigny, 1 Guram Gogichashvili.
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Eddy Ben Arous, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Anton Bresler, 20 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 21 Antoine Gibert, 22 Henry Chavancy, 23 Donovan Taofifenua.
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Ben Blain (Scotland), Ian Kenny (Scotland)
TMO: Hollie Davidson (Scotland)