Racing dispatch Connacht for bonus-point win
EUROPEAN CUP REPORT: Racing 92 were made to battle all the way against Connacht in a 26-22 Champions Cup win in Paris on Sunday.
The French side dominated the first hour and led by 18 points at one stage but the Irish province battled back to eventually take home a losing bonus point.
It only took seven minutes for Racing to take the lead, as they bulldozed their way into the 22 and close to the line with a driving maul. One phase later, they found Georges-Henri Colombe who forced his way over.
Jack Carty added three for the visitors from the kicking tee, but Racing soon moved further ahead inside 20 minutes.
It all came from Heineken Star of the Match Virimi Vakatawa who made a delightful fend, sprinting down the right wing before releasing Kurtley Beale to score in the corner.
The third try soon followed, as a powerful driving maul gives them penalty advantage, allowing Finn Russell to release Vakatawa and Beale to charge forward.
That opened up the space for Romain Taofifenua to perform an acrobatic dive and dot down in remarkable fashion.
Connacht would get a try just before the break, with a beautiful crossfield kick from Jack Carty out wide to Matt Healy, who climbed above Teddy Thomas and touched down for the try.
Racing soon had the try bonus point in the bag after the break as another driving maul did the damage, with Dominic Bird claiming the five-pointer and Teddy Iribaren converted.
But Connacht responded in dogged fashion, with Alex Wootton reading a pass close to his own try line and going coast to coast, cutting the gap to 11 points.
With four minutes to play, the Irish province then scored a third try as powerful phase play splintered the Racing line and Conor Oliver powered over, securing a losing bonus point in the process.
Connacht Rugby welcome Pat Lam back to Galway in their Round 2 clash against Bristol Bears, with Racing 92 travelling to take on Harlequins.
For Racing 92
Tries: Colombe, Beale, Taofifenua, Bird
Cons: Machenaud, Iribaren 2
Tries: Healy, Wootton, Oliver
Cons: Carty, Daly
Racing 92: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Henry Chavancy (captain), 11 Donovan Taofifenua, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Teddy Iribaren, 8 Fabien Sanconnie, 7 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Georges Henri Colombe, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Le Guen, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Ibrahim Diallo, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Antoine Gibert, 23 Simon Zebo.
Connacht: 15 John Porch, 14 Alex Wootton, 13 Sam Arnold, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Paul Boyle, 7 Jarrad Butler (captain), 6 Sean Masterson, 5 Ultan Dillane, 4 Eoghan Masterson, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 David Heffernan, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Jack Aungier, 19 Cian Prendergast, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Bundee Aki, 23 Tiernan O’Halloran.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Jonathan Dufort (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)